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Vulnerable victims of West Virginia nursing home malpractice

Although individuals may be liable for health care mistakes, medical facilities are also responsible for the actions of people they employ. Sometimes, medical professionals are prevented from providing adequate care to West Virginia nursing home residents due to unsafe employer policies. For instance, a nursing home that understaffs to save money may force caregivers to neglect residents' basic needs.

Charleston residents enter nursing homes under the assumption high quality care will be delivered. Instead, many residents are mistreated. Forty-four percent of 2,000 nursing home residents interviewed for a 2000 study stated they were abused; 95 percent saw or were victims of neglect.

The injuries faced by nursing home residents can go unnoticed. Elderly, ill residents may not have the ability to detect errors, like medication mix-ups, or report nursing home injuries. A complaint about neglect or abuse may be dismissed due to a resident's mental or physical condition or contradicted by staff members who want to disguise mistakes and mistreatment.

Family members often notice changes in a loved one's physical appearance, attitude or behavior that indicate possible medical malpractice. A nurse's story about a fall might ring false. Malnutrition is explained away as a resident's decision not to eat.

Victims and their families can use evidence of a loved one's suffering to file claims against negligent nursing homes. Medical malpractice attorneys help plaintiffs compile proof of damages, including associated medical expenses and detailed information about physical or mental harm or fear of harm. Compensation received through settlements or jury awards may benefit a nursing home resident directly or in wrongful death cases, mitigate the losses experienced by surviving family members.

Age and infirmity make many nursing home residents vulnerable to incidents of emotional, physical and even sexual abuse. Some nursing home injuries are caused by errors that harm other medical malpractice victims. An overview of those injuries can be found on our medical malpractice page.

Source: Johnstone & Gabhart LLP, "Nursing Home Neglect" Sep. 08, 2014

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