July 2010

At Least Four North Carolina Nursing Home Residents Killed by Mentally Ill and Violent Patients in the Last Two Years

July 31, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to Disability Rights North Carolina, the state has violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by neglecting to give mentally ill patients the correct type of housing, as well as not properly overseeing the sometimes hazardous and poor conditions at these state-licensed and inspected facilities. The advocacy group filed its complaint with the U.S. Justice Department earlier this week.

It was almost 10 years ago that the state of North Carolina closed thousands of beds in psychiatric facilities that were run by the government. A state study reports says that last year, there were over 6,400 patients suffering from serious mental illnesses that were living in North Carolina assisted living facilities and adult care residences. Unfortunately, in the last two years alone, at least four North Carolina nursing home residents have died at the hands of mentally ill and violent residents. Per TheSunNews.com:

• In December 2008, Levi Montgomery , 69, was allegedly killed by his roommate, Muncie Grimes, 60, at a Fayetteville nursing home. Grimes, suffers dementia and schizophrenia.

• Roland Simmons, 70, was beaten to death with a stick at a Hickory, nursing home last July. Dennis Scherzer, 43, is a paranoid schizophrenic.

• In October 2009 in Asheville, Kenneth Hayward, a 43-year-old mentally ill resident, allegedly beat 66-year-old Walter Davis to death during a disagreement over $4.25.

• Also last year, 27-year-old Jeremiah Love was beaten with a cane at a Surry County rest home by another patient. According to residents at the facility, no rest home workers were around during the altercation, which lasted several minutes. Love was later given a bag of ice for the bump on his head. He died from blood pooling in his brain.

According to the Associated Press, in 2009 there were close to 125,000 seriously mentally ill middle-aged and young adults living in US assisted living facilities—a 41% jump from 2002. The issue of whether it makes sense to house seriously mentally ill nursing home residents with the general population is not a unique one, and there have been incidents in other US states involving patient violence that have resulted in resident fatalities and deaths.

Allowing seriously mentally ill nursing home patients to live with other residents can be detrimental for everyone involved. If your loved one was the victim of a violent crime committed by another patient, you may have grounds for filing a North Carolina nursing home neglect and abuse case.

At Least Four North Carolina Nursing Home Residents Killed by Mentally Ill and Violent Patients in the Last Two Years, WakeMyNYC.com, July 28, 2010

Four killed in N.C. rest homes, TheSunNews, July 30, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Americans With Disabilities Act

Disability Rights North Carolina

Medical Device-Related Complications Send Over 70,000 Children to the ER Every Year

July 27, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to a new study, more than 70,000 teenagers and children end up in the emergency room every year because of medical device complications. Other findings by the US Food and Drug Administration researchers:

• Approximately ¼ of the issues involve contact lenses use, which can lead to eye abrasions and infections.
• Hypodermic needles that break off in the skin is another common cause of medical-device-related child injuries.
• Ear tubes can cause infections.
• Illegal drug use involving hypodermic needles that break can also lead to injuries.
• Pelvic devices used to conduct gynecological exams on teenagers can cause skin tears.
• The most serious medical device-related issues involved chest catheters for cancer patient, implanted devices, and insulin pumps.

Two of the most common reasons for medical device-related to injuries to minors are misuse and malfunction. Also many medical devices used on kids were made for adults.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina defective medical devices attorneys want to remind you that you may be able to hold the manufacturer of a malfunctioning or a defective medical device liable for North Carolina products liability. Inadequate warnings or incomplete instructions can also be grounds for a case.

We know how horrible it can be to discover that the medical device your child is using is harming rather than helping him/her. In some cases, the medical professional that determined that your son or daughter should use the medical device must be held liable for North Carolina medical malpractice.

Medical Device Problems Hurt 70,000+ Kids Annually, NPR, July 26, 2010

Medical device problems hurt 70,000+ kids annually, BusinessWeek, July 26, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Injuries Among Children and Adolescents, CDC

Journal of Pediatrics

Robeson County Nursing Home Negligence?: North Carolina Regulators Shuts Down Facility Following Series of Bad Performance Evaluations

July 23, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Robeson County Department of Social Services has found new assisted living facilities for the 43 people who had been living at St. Mary’s Assisted Living. The North Carolina nursing home was shut down by the state last week after it received a series of poor performance reviews.

Violations against the Robeson County, North Carolina assisted living facility included problems involving nursing home’s staffing levels and qualifications, evacuation plan, fire alarms, health care practices, and personal care practices. The shutting down of the facility comes just days after a July 11 electrical fire that was cause by wiring issues. Fortunately, no one was hurt during the blaze and the damage was contained to one room.

Running an assisted living facility is hard work and requires more than merely providing housing, food, and nursing care for residents. There must be adequate staffing consisting of qualified, skilled, and properly trained nursing home workers. Safety plans must be put in place and safety regulations met to eliminate health hazards and protect the workers from unsanitary conditions. There must be procedures and practices implemented to make sure that the patients are getting the nursing care, medical care, and personal care that they need. Each patient should have a customized care and feeding plan. Security must also be at such a level that robberies, violent crimes, sexual assault, financial elder abuse, and North Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect don’t happen.

It is the nursing home residents and their families that suffer when North Carolina nursing home negligence occurs.

State shuts down Robeson County nursing home, FayObserver, July 21, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Robeson County Department of Social Services

Licensed Facilities, NC Division of Health Service Regulation

Pilot Error May Have Been a Factor In North Carolina Plane Crash at Horace Williams Airport

July 20, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report, pilot error may have been a factor in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina aviation accident on July 12. Per the report, a Cirrus SR20 touched down on the runway at Horace Williams Airport so hard that the plane bounced several times before crashing into a fence and trees.

Killed in the North Carolina plane crash was pilot Thomas Pitts, 66. The two passengers riding with him were injured. Kyle Henn has since been released from the hospital, while Jim Donohue was still in critical condition as of last Friday.

According to witnesses, the private plane appeared to be operating out of control as it arrived at the airport, which belongs to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While it is not uncommon to add a power climb when attempting to re-land an aircraft, “pilot-induced oscillations” are not, and, per the report, excessive speed may have been a factor in this particular case.

One witness says the plane may have been traveling speeds of 60 to 70 mph as it went off the runway, while another witness has said that the nose of the plane was at a 45-degree upward angle during landing. No mechanical problems have been discovered.

North Carolina Plane Accidents
Unfortunately, plane crashes usually result in fatalities and serious injuries for those involved. Aviation accidents are different from other types of injury accidents, and it is important that you work with a Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm that knows how to determine who should be held responsible for your plane crash injuries or your loved one’s wrongful death.

Crash may be pilot’s fault, News Observer, July 20, 2010

Friends grieve for pilot killed in crash, The Chapel Hill News, July 18, 2010

Related Web Resources:

Plane Accidents Overview, Justia

Former Inmate Files North Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuit Over Tuberculosis Outbreak

July 13, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Lumberton resident Floyd Baldwin is suing Brunswick County officials for North Carolina personal injury. The plaintiff, a former inmate, claims that negligence contributed to the tuberculosis outbreak that occurred in jail last summer. The defendants include Brunswick County’s sheriff, health department, commissioners, and Southern Health Partners Inc., the county’s insurer.

Baldwin says that he spent nine months on the same cellblock were inmate Omar Morales was living. Baldwin, who is taking medicine for the non-contagious form of the disease, contends that Morales, who started the outbreak, was not tested for TB before being admitted to the jail in October 2008. He also says that not only did the defendants disregard the seriousness of Morales’s condition and symptoms, but also, he is accusing the sheriff’s office of failing to have the required jail health plan.

Baldwin claims that the jail ignored the inmates requests that Morales be given medical help and that it was only after Morales’s cellmate also developed TB that the medical care the latter needed was provided.

Since August, 42 people have tested positive for TB, but only two have the active type that is contagious. Baldwin wants damages over $10,000 for emotional trauma, mental anguish and pain, permanent physical injury, physical injury, future medical bills, and other injuries. His North Carolina personal injury attorney says more civil complaints from other inmates who contracted TB are expected.

North Carolina Personal Injury
Officials in charge of prisons and jails are responsible for making sure that suspects and inmates do not become victims of police brutality, violent crimes by other inmates, medical neglect, or other types of negligence. Unfortunately, inmates have been known to suffer North Carolina injury, illness, and death because officials failed to abide by regulations, protect them from physical harm, or make sure they received the necessary medical care.

TB is a contagious bacterial infection that can attack the lungs, kidney, brain, or spine. Failure to treat tuberculosis properly and in a timely manner can prove fatal.

Inmate sues sheriff’s office, health department, county commissioners for TB exposure, Brunswickbeackon.com, July 13, 2010

Former inmate suing Brunswick County after contracting tuberculosis in jail, Star News Online, June 29, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Tuberculosis (TB), CDC

Brunswick County, North Carolina

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence: Britthaven of Chapel Hill Sued for Inadequate Care

July 10, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The widow of Marian Orlowski is suing Britthaven of Chapel Hill for North Carolina nursing home neglect. Marian, who suffered from dementia, died from pneumonia at age 86.

His wife, Jadwiga Orlowski, had him admitted to the Chapel Hill nursing home two years prior to his death after he underwent surgery. She contends that on his first day there, he fell from his bed and suffered North Carolina personal injuries, including a fractured hip.

Jadwiga is accusing Britthaven of North Carolina nursing home negligence. She claims that the nursing home staff did not properly monitor her husband and neglected to provide him with a bed that had side rails.

Britthaven is considered a “special focus facility,” meaning that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have singled the assisted living facility out as a home that has a pattern of providing substandard nursing care. For example, one of its nurses, Angela Almore, is scheduled to appear in court this week on second-degree murder and nursing home abuse charges over the morphine death of Rachel Holliday, 84, and the morphine-related injuries of six other patients.

In 2009, CMS ordered Britthaven of Chapel Hill to pay $216,400 for failing to comply with Medicare requirements in a nursing home case involving 95-year-old Mary Lou Barthazon. A federal judge says that the elderly patient likely broke both thigh bones close to her knees in September 2007 when she was dropped by a nursing home assisted who was attempting to transfer her from a chair to her bed. Per Barthazon’s care plan, the nursing assistant was supposed to use a mechanical lift.

Because the North Carolina fall accident was not reported, Barthazon’s fractures went untreated for two weeks. Her daughter Anne Blanchard is the one who demanded that she be taken to an emergency room. Four days later, Barthazon passed away. Blanchard is suing Britthaven for Chapel Hill, North Carolina nursing home negligence and wrongful death.

Other North Carolina assisted living facilities that have made the Special Focus Facilities list are the Brian Centers in Goldsboro and Gastonia and Chapel Hill Health and Rehabilitation.

Nursing home faces lawsuits, NewsObserver.com, July 10, 2010

Prosecutor: Nurse charged in patient death acted alone, WRAL, June 8, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Nursing Homes, North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

Britthaven Inc.


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