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Wrongful death: Health department cites negligence for 2 deaths

The medical and care needs of nursing home residents can be complex. As a result, care providers in New Jersey often create detailed care plans that provide instructions on how to treat an individual resident in a variety of different situations. The actions of an out-of-state facility illustrate the importance of following such instructions. The family members of the patients involved may decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit as a result.

The state's Department of Health addressed the two incidents in a recent report. In the first incident, staff members were said to have been performing CPR on a resident when a nurse "waved a paper" that she claims indicated such lifesaving measures were prohibited, according to the resident's directive. However, she later admitted to misunderstanding the directive. Additionally, the report claims that other employees failed to follow protocols while giving CPR, including bringing a defibrillator to the scene and using a stiff backboard instead of a bed.

In the second incident, occurring months later, a care provider admitted to failing to review a patient's care instructions. As per instructions, the patient required two staff members and a special lifting mechanism when using the restroom. However, the employee attempted to move the patient alone, using a simpler piece of equipment. Unfortunately, the patient is said to have fallen, resulting in injuries that ultimately proved fatal.

Employees at nursing homes must be knowledgeable about each resident's individual needs. This includes reviewing pertinent documents prior to providing care, whether that care involves providing lifesaving measures or routine measures such as bathroom assistance. Failure to do so could have serious consequences, as these two incidents seem to demonstrate. In New Jersey and across the country, those who have lost a loved one due to a care provider's negligence may opt to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: startribune.com, "Neglect led to 2 deaths a few months apart at Waconia nursing home, state finds", Paul Walsh, Jan. 4, 2017

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