Topic: Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

What Will the “World’s Most Detailed Brain Scans” Mean for North Carolina Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment?

July 3, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina traumatic brain injury victims (and their families) often feel frustrated because they lack comprehensive information about prognoses.

TBI is a very, very complicated and poorly understood catalogue of conditions. Although most people talk about traumatic brain injury as a “single thing” — it’s more likely that there are many different types of TBI, even if commonalities exist among these different “species” of disorder.

Fortunately, scientists are making headway in terms of understanding how the brain works — particularly, our imaging capabilities are getting better and better.

BBC News recently reported that scientists connected with the Human Connectome Project are publishing “the most detailed brain scans the world has ever seen.” So far, the researchers have published the scans of more than five-dozen adults, and they hope to scan 1,200 brains and include DNA and behavioral traits in the data. They are making the
info available to neuroscientists for free.

Professor David Van Essen told the BBC “we are very optimistic that as the community delves… into these data sets, they will reveal new insights into the brain circuits of healthy adults.” The volunteers engaged in many tasks during the scans, including gambling, doing math, manipulating their bodies, etc. Professor Van Essen hopes that this analysis will “uncover which neural pathways are important in determining human behaviors.”

With these better scanning methods, researchers may better understand the neural circuits that relate to various activities and emotional states. By understanding how normal brains work — and what they look like when they are working normally — researchers will also be able to help people who struggle with cognitive dysfunctions, like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.

For instance, researchers might be able to look at a brain scan of your friend or loved one who suffered a concussion in North Carolina (or some other kind of TBI) and compare that brain map to the map of a cognitively normal person to determine what therapies might be appropriate, what drugs might be appropriate, what kind of training might be most useful, and so forth.

We are a long way away from serious practical applications of this kind of scanning technology, but we are headed in the right direction. Don’t let this discourage you. Recovering from serious brain injury is a long term proposition, after all. After all, your goal is long term health and wellbeing — optimized based on your accident history and other factors.

The sooner that you can begin to understand not only the injury itself but also your legal options, the more at ease you will feel about your long term situation. Get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today to go over your options and to protect your rights. Call us now at (877) 529-1222 for insight and a free case consultation.

53 Members of Congress Want to Investigate Whether IED Blast Induced Traumatic Brain Injuries May Be Sparking Suicide Epidemic in the Armed Forces

June 24, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Improvised explosive devices, also known as IEDs, were used against American service personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq in the wars over the past decade. New evidence suggests that these hidden bombs not only caused traumatic brain injury but also increased the likelihood of suicidal behavior.

Recently, 53 members of the US Congress sent a letter to Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, asking Congress to figure out what to do about the rash of suicides, possibly induced by IED traumatic brain injuries. Per the letter: “Evidence suggests that blast injuries, including but not limited to those causing damage to vision or hearing, can have a severe psychological impact…that can play a major contributing role in suicides.”

The prevailing theory is that the psychological trauma of combat causes mental distress that can lead to suicide. The alternative view that the bipartisan members of Congress want to investigate is that the IED explosions, in and of themselves, change the structure of the brain and make people more prone to suicide.

In other words, it’s not psychological stress. It’s a neurological problem–a physical, biochemical problem. According to the spokesman for the Blinded Veterans Association, Thomas Zampieri, “I’ve talked to a lot of neurologists, military neurosurgeons and trauma surgeons who have all started to ponder if the IEDs that have caused the TBIs are the real
cause of the suicides, versus the traditional approach that suicides are all caused by the psychological stresses of combat.”

According to the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, more than 266,000 troops suffered brain injuries in combat between 2000 and 2012–coincidental with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as special military operations around the world and training exercises.

If you or someone you love was hurt in combat or in training, and you want answers about what legal actions you can take regarding your traumatic brain injury case, please get in touch with the DeMayo Law team today for thorough, strategic assistance.

How Much Will You Need to Be Involved with Your North Carolina Mass Tort Lawsuit?

June 9, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You are on offense. As someone who was injured (or whose loved one was injured), you are seriously considering filing a North Carolina class action or mass tort lawsuit — or an independent personal injury action.
On the other hand, you’re dubious. The thought of getting wrapped up in some complex legal action fills you with dread, because you don’t want to get roped into being a “lead plaintiff.” You want to forget about the traumatic experience — not have to relive it for months or years.

So how much, exactly, will you have to be involved in your legal fight?
The answer depends.

Obviously, if you choose to be a lead plaintiff — and if you’re pursuing a massive case against a huge company that could settle for tens of millions of dollars — then you obviously need to be pretty involved. However, the process is less involved and less confusing than you believe.
Assuming you pick a North Carolina class action law firm that’s a good fit for your needs — that shares your values and vision, and that has the experience and resources to argue effectively on your behalf — you won’t have to do much at all. That’s one of the beautiful things about finding good legal representation: When you’re well represented, you won’t have nagging questions distracting you from your day-to-day business and from the important work of recovery. You can focus all your attention on getting better, on fixing your financial problems, and on healing yourself psychologically.
While you ultimately need to “do more work” as a plaintiff in a class action or personal injury lawsuit than would if you “did nothing” about your case, the peace of mind that you’ll get will undoubtedly cancel out the extra work that you need to do.
For instance, if you don’t do anything, you might waste hours or even days’ worth of your time ruminating about aspects of your case or aspects of how to handle an insurance company.
That’s time you will never get back — time that you could spend relaxing or being productive.
Also — it should go without saying — but if you WIN your case, you should get well compensated for your injuries and damages. You will receive nothing, if you do nothing.
In summary: If you’ve been hesitant about connecting with an attorney, that hesitancy makes all the sense in the world. However, you might find it worthy to examine what’s at to the root of that hesitancy. Are you just scared about the time commitment? Because if so, that fear really doesn’t make objective sense. If not, probe deeper to understand what’s really going on — why, fundamentally, are you resistant to getting the help that you really need?

Your North Carolina Injury is Not the End of the World (Probably)–or At Least You Won’t Feel This Unhappy Forever

May 26, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

You’re deeply depressed by your recent North Carolina injury. Whether some idiot in a truck bashed your car by blowing through a stop sign, or a doctor misread your chart and gave you a medication that made you literally sick to your stomach, you are in pain. You are angry; you are confused; and you are deeply dismayed by your situation and the prospects for your future.

Obviously, what’s done is done. You can’t go back in time and undo the North Carolina truck accident or reverse the doctor’s negligent decisions. And you may indeed have a long road to hoe. You might never regain function of your leg. You might need to be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. You might never be able to work as you once did. The brain damage caused by the accident may permanently limit your ability to be productive to two to three hours a day.

When you sit there and contemplate these scenarios–particularly the worst case scenarios–you can easily spiral into depression and apathy. This is really unfortunate. When you are depressed and/or apathetic, you may fail to take important kinds of action–such as contacting a reputable North Carolina mass tort law firm ASAP–because you feel too hopeless to persevere.

This is a shame, because science shows that our emotional immune systems are remarkably resilient.

Even IF a worst case scenarios plays out for you–e.g. you’re permanently hobbled by the accident or no longer able to work in a career that you love–these setbacks will not doom you to a lifetime of depression and unhappiness. Or at least they don’t necessarily mark you with that destiny.

That may sound very counterintuitive. But if you look at the research, those statements bare out.

Lottery winners notoriously experience euphoria for the first weeks or months after they win. But they ultimately wind up just as happy–and just as sad!–as they were before the pay day.

Likewise, people injured so severely that they are left as quadriplegics suffer extreme depression in the first few weeks and months. But they ultimately rebound to feel just as happy as they did before the devastating event.

This isn’t to say that you don’t have problems — that you shouldn’t feel depressed or anything. Rather, you should appreciate that your current emotional state is probably temporary.

Even more importantly, you need to avoid getting trapped by your emotions into “doing nothing” and/or into making impulsive and not-strategic actions that can have negative long-term implications for your finances and healthcare options.

To that end, consider connecting with the DeMayo Law team now at (877) 529-1222 for a free consultation, so that we can put you on a more strategic path with respect to your case.

North Carolina Class Action News: Legal Fight Over High Sugar, High Caffeine Energy Drinks — A Portent of A Larger Battle To Come?

May 23, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Are we witnessing the beginnings of a major mass tort battle in North Carolina (and well beyond?)

Perhaps so. And big beverage companies may be on the receiving end.

Last year, for instance, a woman in Australia allegedly died from over consuming Coca-Cola. According to the Chicago Sun Times, a Maryland teenager died after drinking two large Monster Energy drinks in a single 24-hour period. These drinks contain a lot of caffeine and also a lot of sugar. While testifying before Chicago City Council, Edward Burke discussed a federal report “that showed the number of annual hospital visits tied to highly caffeinated energy drinks doubled between 2007 and 2011 — to 21,000.”

According to the President of Chicago Medical Society, Dr. Howard Axe, “super caffeinated energy drinks,” such as Red Bull, Monster Energy, and Rockstar, pose serious health risks, “including possible fatalities to adults and children, particularly those with preexisting conditions.”

The legal brouhaha in Chicago is focused on the adverse health effects of over consuming caffeine. Another, potentially more fraught and momentous debate has to do with the adverse effects of the overconsumption of liquid sucrose. As most famously articulated by pediatric obesity specialist, Dr. Robert Lustig, calories from liquid sucrose may have especially adverse effect on the liver because of the way the fructose component of sucrose gets metabolized by that organ. Lustig builds the case — at least in the doses that modern North Carolinians consume sugar — that “calorie is not a calorie.” The consumption of sugary liquid beverages, like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and even many fruit juices, may be doing tremendous harm to our population and precipitating problems like metabolic disease, obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease.

So far, obviously, we have yet to see a major class action or mass tort lawsuit against beverage companies. But some health advocates are suggesting that we may be witnessing at least the beginnings of such machinations — they compare our current era to the era a few years before Big Tobacco was held to legal account for advertising and selling dangerous products.

If you have recently been harmed by a product or service, you are probably far less interested in the legal battle over energy drinks than you are with your own wellbeing, financially, medically, and otherwise.

 The team here at the law offices of Michael A. DeMayo proudly represents victims and their families in serious North Carolina personal injury matters. Please get in touch with us today by calling (877) 529-1222, so we can provide you a free consultation and help you get educated and informed about your options.

Our Illogical Reactions to Superstitions: Really Important to Understand, If You Want to Fight Your North Carolina Class Action Optimally…

May 19, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether your son broke his ribs in an SUV rollover, your husband tore his ACL on an amusement park ride, or you suffered a devastating home fire when your space heater malfunctioned, you understand you have the potential to take some kind of legal action and perhaps to participate in a North Carolina class action or mass tort lawsuit.

But you are confused about what to do next. Should you connect with a legal team like DeMayo Law or “deal with the situation yourself” — i.e. work directly with an insurance company?

Everyone has different needs and sensitivities and comforts. But it’s important to be rational rather than impulsive when you make a big decision like this.

We often play to our superstitions rather than to logical common sense.

Consider the diverse nature of our strange beliefs. Whether you are afraid of the number 13; you bet your wedding date when you play the lottery; or you worry about a black cat crossing your path or something along those lines, part of you recognizes that you’re being ridiculous with the superstitions.

You understand that that you are using “magical thinking” and not logic. But even when you “call out” your superstitions — call your own bluff — you may not be able to overpower your subconscious resistance. You may not, for instance, ever feel comfortable sleeping on the 13th floor of a hotel. If you’re Russian, you may refuse to shake someone’s hand when they reach through a doorway to you.

Depending on how deeply you hold strange beliefs, they can really hamper your life.

The point is that wrestling with such strange beliefs–even when you make those beliefs conscious and you appreciate that they’re clearly irrational–is more challenging than meets the eye.

As much as we should “trust our guts” in certain situations, we also need to learn how and when to challenge our intuitions in order to achieve best results.

To that end, if you have reservations about connecting with an attorney–or if you have some strange belief about why you are not someone who “does” lawsuits, reflect on that received wisdom. Are those concepts actually serving you right now?

Consider, for instance, the worst thing that could happen, if you got a consultation with attorney, versus the best thing that could happen if you did. That the more that you can shine rational light on your fears, the more you can move beyond them and make more compelling and useful decisions.

Class Action Lawsuits “Brewing” For Budweiser

May 13, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser Beer, is facing a pretty serious class action lawsuit that alleges that the brewer watered down its products prior to bottling.

Thus far, plaintiffs in Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Jersey, Colorado, Ohio, and California have all filed suit against the beer manufacturer based on whistleblowing testimony from former high placed employees in the business–at 13 separate breweries.

Will a North Carolina class action against Budweiser be next?

Anheuser-Busch has fought back vigorously against the bad press–the company recently took out full page ads in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, and eight other major newspapers touting the fact that the company provided 71 million cans of drinking water to the American Red Cross and other disaster organizations. The cheeky headline read “they must have tested one of these.”

But a lead attorney in the case, Josh Boxer, shrugged off the newspaper ad blitz as a “classic non-denial…(the) alcohol readings, taken six times a second as the finished product is bottled, will confirm the allegations made by the growing number of former employees who keep coming forward to tell us the truth.”

In court, Anheuser-Busch will need to produce data on its internal and alcohol testing procedures. Ten different products are tangled up in the legal matter, including well-known brands like Budweiser, Michelob, and Bud Ice as well as more “exotic” brands, like Hurricane High Gravity Lager and Bud Light Lime.

Do you have a potential Charlotte class action lawsuit?

The team here at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo can help you understand and defend your rights to get compensation. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to file a personal injury suit or a mass tort action. Our team can help you strategize and determine the most effective, accurate course forward. Call us now for a free consultation, and get clarity on what you need to do.

The End of the Beginning of Your Quest for Justice After a North Carolina Injury

May 10, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

In the hours and days since your North Carolina injury–or your family member’s injury- you have been in a mad scramble to get medical care and make sense of your options.

What steps should you be taking (or not taking) to manage the medical crisis, collect evidence, and deal with the urgent logistics in your life? Who is going to take care of the kids while you’re hurt? Who’s going to handle the big work project that you had to drop to deal with the catastrophe? How will you pay the mortgage now that you’ve spent thousands of dollars out of pocket on ambulance and hospital services?

After you wrangle these urgent details, you then need to scramble to recalibrate everything in your life. You will also need to find a way to deal with the tremendous challenges of finding appropriate representation:

  • Do you have a case or not?
  • If so, what should you do first?
  • Whom can you trust?
  • How can you evaluate different law firms against one another?
  • How can you work effectively with a law firm to make sure that you get clear answers and good communication throughout the process?

All of these urgent questions might be on your mind. And they all need to be addressed.

The several lining–if there is one–is that, once you do get all of these things taken care of, assuming you have done everything effectively, you should enjoy renewed peace of mind.

The great gift that a solid North Carolina mass tort law firm can provide is the gift of clarity.

Even though your life may feel like it’s in a million pieces right now–if you know exactly what’s going to happen next and what to expect; and if you have trusted people working on your behalf–much of the stress and agitation will lift.

Obviously, even a superb law firm is not going to magically make your injury go away or eliminate the anger and frustration you feel about what happened. But you should feel a sense of relief and security that you are moving in the right direction.

And when people feel like their lives are moving in a positive direction, they often see passed their immediate limitations and handle the process with more grace and patience.

Connect with the DeMayo Law team right now for strategic, insightful assistance with your Charlotte personal injury matter.

Charlotte, North Carolina Nursing Homes: Bringing Good Cheer to Your Loved Ones During The Holidays

November 20, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

With the holiday season just getting started, now is a good time to plan a visit to see your loved one at nursing home. This time of year can be rough for nursing home patients, who may miss their friends and family more than usual. A visit to bring them holiday cheer can lift their spirits. spirits. It can also be good time to make sure that your relative or friend is not suffering from Charlotte, North Carolina nursing home abuse or neglect.

A few steps you can take to make sure your visit will benefit your loved one:
• Find out when is the best time to visit. You don’t want to show up in the middle of a physical therapy session or when your loved one is not available for some other reason.
• Make sure that you customize your visit according to the resident’s needs. For example, should you take the patient out of the assisted living facility for lunch or will it be better if you stay on the premises?
• Think of activities you can do together that the nursing home resident will enjoy.

Spending quality time with your loved one is what matters. However, while you are visiting—especially if you don’t go there on a frequent basis—it is also a good idea to check out the facility and observe staff to make sure that he/she is getting the proper nursing care and living in a safe environment.

• Does your loved one seem relaxed and content?
Do you notice any awkward interactions between the patient and nursing home workers or patients?
• Does he/she seem depressed or fearful?
• Does he/she have unexplained bruises or other injuries?
• Observe nursing home staff. How do they interact with the residents and each other?
• Is the assisted living facility clean?
When you ask staff members about your loved one’s care plan do they seem involved and informed?

While directly asking your relative/friend about his/her experience is helpful, not every patient can speak out because of dementia or other health issues or out of fear. Our Hickory, North Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers want you to know that if you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated or not getting the proper care you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the assisted living facility.

You should also remove your him/her from any suspected abusive or dangerous situation and notify the authorities about your concerns. The sooner you speak with a Lumberton, North Carolina personal injury lawyer about your suspicions, the better.

Licensed Facilities, NC Division of Health Service Regulation

Nursing Homes, North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence: Proper Feeding of Residents Can Prevent Choking Accidents and Other Food-Related Injuries and Illnesses, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, October 11, 2011

North Carolina Nursing Home Shooting Rampage: Man Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 12, 2011

Forsythe County, North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence?: Resident Who Drowned in Puddle in 2009 is Identified by Police, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 16, 2011

For Many North Carolina Car Accident Victims, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Can Create Havoc

October 21, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Of the more than 2 million people injured in US auto crashes each year that are lucky enough to survive, a number of them may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder—up to 40% even, estimates the US Department of Transportation. This is no surprise, consider that traffic collisions are among the leading causes of PTST. You may be able to obtain North Carolina car accident compensation for this and any other debilitating injuries that were caused by another party’s negligence.

Remember, physical injuries are not the only type of injuries that can occur during a motor vehicle crash. There is also pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional trauma. While invisible, psychological and emotional injuries can also take a toll, severely impairing a victim while negatively impacting his/her life.

PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder can arise after someone has suffered a life-threatening or frightening experience. This may cause severe anxiety and emotional/mental paralysis in the person. Signs of possible PTSD:

• Flashbacks of the incident
• Reliving the accident as if it were happening again now
• An irrational fear that the same accident will happen to the victim again
• Physical symptoms arising when the person is reminded what happened. Symptoms may include rapid breathing, nausea, elevated heart rate, and sweating
• Anger issues
• Sleep difficulties
• Nightmares
• Disinterest in former passions, hobbies, and activities
• The need to be constantly vigilant
• Depression
• Alcohol or drug abuse
• Emotional numbness
• Problems concentrating
• Suicidal thoughts
• Eating disorders
• A higher risk of developing physical health issues, such as diabetes, heart problems, and sexual dysfunction

PTSD can happen not just to the person that actually experienced the catastrophic incident but also to those that witnessed it or were there afterwards to help out, such as police and rescue workers. Family and close of those that were in the accident can also develop PTSD.

This condition can affect not just the victim’s personal well-being, but also his/her career and relationships. People suffering from PTSD are more likely to miss work and not do as good of a job as those without PTSD. Problems concentrating and sleep difficulties can also make it hard for the person to be productive or meet goals. The impact of all the symptoms listed above can also affect how the person relates to people and deals with life. This can place at toll on marriages, family life, and relationships.

You want to work with a Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm that understands the nature of PTSD and how to prove that you developed your condition because you were involved in an accident that occurred as a result of someone else’ negligence. Remember, PTSD can occur following any type of traumatic incident. This means that if you were sexually assaulted, abused at a nursing home, the victim of a violent crime, or survived a fall at a construction site, you may have developed PTSD as a response to what happened.

The Effect of PTSD on a Person’s Life, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 6, 2011

Talking to Your Friends and Colleagues about a Traumatic North Carolina Car Accident, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 19, 2011

Are Gruesome Reports About North Carolina Car Accidents Rendering Us Insensitive to Dangers of the Road?, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2011

 

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence: Proper Feeding of Residents Can Prevent Choking Accidents and Other Food-Related Injuries and Illnesses

October 11, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Assisted living facility staff must make sure that each resident is properly fed. This includes making sure their diet meets their nutritional needs and restrictions and keeping each patient properly hydrated. While feeding someone may sound like an easy, obvious task, depending on the resident, there may be numerous steps involved. Should failure fulfill this responsibility result in injury or illness, the patient and his/her family may have grounds for a Charlotte, North Carolina nursing home negligence lawsuit.

For example, some patients may not be able to chew their food unless meats are cut into small bites, liquefied, handfed by someone else, or inserted through a feeding tube. Failure to make sure a resident’s food is in a form that the patient can easily swallow or digest can result in choking accidents, malnutrition, and even death. If a feeding tube is involved, then nursing staff must make sure that it is properly inserted in the patient’s body so that the food is delivered to the stsomach and not to the lungs or some other body part. Such a mistake can prove fatal and lead to a Charlotte, North Carolina wrongful death case.

Doctors, nutritionists, and nurses need to make sure that any food allergies are noted on a patient’s food chart. If sugar is a no-no, then this too must be made clear. For some patients, too much cholesterol can stress out the heart. In the last few years, gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance have become more common. Exposing a patient to foods that are bad for his/her health can lead to serious health complications that could/should have been prevented.

It is also the responsibility of nursing home workers to make sure that the kitchen is clean and free from any dangerous bacteria and that food items are properly cleaned, stored, preserved, prepared, and served. Sick and elderly residents tend to have weaker immune systems than healthy persons and food poisoning, E.coli, and other food illnesses can take a toll on their health.

It also goes without saying that even if a nursing home resident can eat on their own and without requiring close supervision that staff make sure that patients are in fact getting the nutrition and liquids that they need. Living at a nursing home can sometimes lead to depression and loneliness for patients, who may miss family and friends, as well as their old way of life. Loss of appetite can cause a patient to neglect his/her well-being, and it is the responsibility of the assisted living facility to make sure that this doesn’t happen.

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

FDA Food Code

More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Nursing Home Shooting Rampage: Man Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 12, 2011

Forsythe County, North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence?: Resident Who Drowned in Puddle in 2009 is Identified by Police, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 16, 2011

Over 18,000 Reports of North Carolina Elder Abuse and Neglect Made in 2011, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 9, 2011

North Carolina Nursing Home Shooting Rampage: Man Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder

September 12, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Robert Stewart, the man convicted of eight counts of second-degree murder in the 2009 mass shooting at a North Carolina nursing home, has been spared the death penalty. Instead, he will spend life in prison without parole.

Stewart admitted to shooting 11 people at the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center. Eight of the people he shot at the Carthage nursing home died:

• Tessie Garner, 75
• Jesse Musser, 88
• Lillian Dunn, 89
• Bessie Hedrick, 78
• Margaret Johnson, 89
• John Goldston, 78
• Nurse Jerry Avant, 39
• Louise DeKler, 98

Already, the estates of DeKler, Goldston, Johnson, and Dunn have filed a North Carolina wrongful death claim alleging nursing home negligence and premises liability. Stewart’s wife Wanda is believed to have warned administrators that her husband was going to come after her.

On the day of the shooting, March 29, 2009, Wanda was working in a locked area of the facility. The rest of the nursing home, however, remained easily accessible to anyone. The victims’ loved ones say that the facility never warned them that Stewart might go to the Carthage nursing home and cause anyone harm. (Wanda has also been named a defendant for allegedly failing to warn the residents that her husband posed a danger.)

While prosecutors tried to get Robert convicted of first-degree murder—contending that he was aware of his actions and motives when he went looking for his wife, his defense lawyers claimed that at the time of the shooting he had been under the influence of a combination of prescription drugs that put him in a zombie-like state. They also contended that he was depressed because his wife had left him and he believed he was dying from cancer.

Following the jury’s conviction of second-degree murder, the judge sentenced Robert to 189-236 months behind bars for each murder count (that is 126 to 157 years in prison) sans parole. He also was sentenced to 16-22 years for other assault convictions. The defense plans to appeal.

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence
In addition to protecting residents from North Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect, it is up to staff to make sure that patients and their guests are kept physically safe. This means ensuring that there is adequate supervision, security, and safeguards to prevent sexual assault, physical assault, and other violent crimes.

Nursing homes should be properly secured to prevent unwanted persons from entering or leaving the premise without notice. Security guards, locks on doors and windows, surveillance cameras, and controlled entry and access are just some of the safety measures that can be implemented. If there is an imminent danger that suddenly arises, then adequate warnings, heightened security, and closer supervision can be implemented to provide adequate protections.

Robert Stewart guilty of 2nd-degree murder, sentenced to life in prison, FayObserver.com, September 4, 2011

NC man gets life in prison for Carthage nursing home killings, NBC17, September 3, 2011

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Nursing Home Compare, Medicare.gov

More Blog Posts:
Alleged Shooter That Caused Eight Carthage, North Carolina Nursing Home Deaths to Go on Trial, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, July 11, 2011

Over 18,000 Reports of North Carolina Elder Abuse and Neglect Made in 2010, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 9, 2011

Caretaker Accused of North Carolina Elder Abuse in Beating of 91-Year-Old Woman, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 27, 2011

Charlotte, North Carolina Slip and Fall Accidents Can Result in Painful, Debilitating Personal Injuries

August 30, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Every year, thousands of people are injured in slip and fall, step and fall, and trip and fall accidents. While these accidents sound harmless enough (after all, as young children didn’t all of us fall to the ground on more than one occasion and live to tell the tale with our bodies physically intact?), the injuries sustained during a fall accident, especially for older adults, can be very serious and can even lead to traumatic brain injuries and death.

Other common slip and fall injuries include broken hips, back injuries, neck injuries, fractures, head injuries, and injuries to the arms, pelvis, legs, and hands. Bruises are also not uncommon during trip and fall accidents. Depending on the type of injury and the age and physical health of the injured party, premises liability-related injuries are very painful and can lead to permanent disabilities, lengthy confinements at nursing homes or rehabilitation facilities, loss of independence, lack of mobility, the inability to go to work or tend to daily tasks, and health complications.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina slip and fall attorneys represent premises liability victims and their families throughout the state. Property owners owe patrons, guests, and residents a duty of care to make sure there are no slip and fall hazards on a premise that can cause serious injuries. Most North Carolina slip and fall accident victims don’t realize that they may be entitled to personal injury compensation.

Common causes of slip and fall, trip and fall, and step and fall injuries:

• Wet liquids on the ground
• Uneven flooring
• Ice and snow on a driveway
• Lack of stair railings
• Inadequately lit stairwells, hallways, and parking lots
• Torn carpeting
• Objects or debris on the ground
• Cracks on the sidewalk
• Broken floorboards
• Pavement holes

Related Web Resource:
Slip and Fall, Nolo

Premises Liability, Justia

Adoptive Dad of Murdered 4-Year-Old is Not Allowed to Receive North Carolina Wrongful Death Damages, Says Jury

August 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Although Johnny Paddock was never charged in the death of his 4-year-old adoptive son Sean Paddock, he will not be allowed to benefit from a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit filed by the boy’s biological grandfather. Paddock’s wife, Lynn Paddock, was convicted of felony child abuse and first-degree murder. She is serving a life sentence.

Police say that Sean suffocated after being bound too tightly in blankets on February 26, 2006. Although Johnny claims he knew nothing of the abuse, the civil court says that Johnny “aided and abetted” Lynn.

Sean’s five adopted siblings have also filed a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit against Johnny. In addition, they are suing Children’s Home Society of North Carolina Inc. for North Carolina personal injury because the group placed them with the Paddocks. Sean’s grandfather, Ron Ford, is also suing the group.

During Lynn’s 2008 criminal trial, the Paddock kids testified that she beat them on a nearly daily basis with wooden spoons, plastic rods, and other devices. They also say that she controlled when they could go to the bathroom and what they ate, made them exercise, and forced them to sit in front of a wall for hours. They claim she kept them away from other adults and kids.

Some of the kids still live with Johnny, who they say never beat them and was either asleep or away when they were abused by their mom. Still, Ford’s lawyers contend that Paddock knew about the abuse and didn’t do anything to stop it.

Because of this jury’s finding, Johnny will not be able to obtain any recovery from the wrongful death lawsuits filed over Sean’s murder. The verdict removes him as Sean’s legal dad and now paves the way for Sean’s siblings to win damages.

Ford, who lost his standing as Sean’s relative when the Paddocks adopted the boy, also won’t be collecting any damages from Sean’s estate. Following the jury’s verdict, Ford says that the fact that Johnny was being held accountable for what happened to Sean makes him “very very happy with this.”

North Carolina Wrongful Death
As you can see with this case, North Carolina wrongful death actions can be complicated, which is why you want an experienced Charlotte, NC wrongful death law firm handling your case. There may be complex issues involved, such as trying to prevent a family member who may played a factor in causing the victim’s passing from recovering compensation.

Losing someone you love is never easy under any circumstances and obtaining damages won’t make up for your loss. It can, however, allow you to hold the responsible parties accountable and serve as acknowledgement of what happened. In can also provide some financial relief.

Father faulted in death, The Herald, July 24, 2011

Verdict means adoptive father can’t benefit from boy’s death, WRAL, July 20, 2011

Paddock will pay for son’s murder, News Observer, September 22, 2009


Related Web Resource:

Children’s Home Society of North Carolina Inc.

More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Convicted Murderer Mike Peterson Now Owes $35 Million for Wrongful Death of His Wife, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, February 11, 2011

North Carolina Parents File Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Stokes County Department of Social Services For Son’s Drowning Deaths, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, April 2, 2008

North Carolina Wrongful Death Results in $10M Award Against Taser, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, July 20, 2011

Alleged Shooter That Caused Eight Carthage, North Carolina Nursing Home Deaths to Go on Trial, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, July 11, 2011

Sustaining a Traumatic Brain Injury May Up the Risk of Stroke

August 2, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to researchers, patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries may have increase their risk of stroke by 10-fold. Our Charlotte, North Carolina TBI law firm finds these latest findings incredibly disturbing. This is just one more incredibly challenging complication that some of our brain injury clients may have to contend with, along with the other repercussions from having been in a serious accident.

The results from this latest study, which was conducted by Professor Herng-Ching Lin at Taipei Medical University, were published in the July 28 web edition of Stroke. Data was gathered on 23,199 traumatic brain injury patients who got hurt between 2001 and 2003. Their information was compared with data from 69,597 patients who did not have TBIs.

Among the findings:
• 2.91% of brain injury patients suffered a stroke within three months of sustaining their injury.
• Just .3% of non-TBI patients had a stroke during the same time frame.
• The risk of stroke among TBI patients did go down with each passing year.
• Patients with a fractured skull can up the risk of stroke had a 20-fold greater risk of developing a stroke during the first thee months than for TBI patients without a skull fracture.
• Traumatic brain injury patients are at greater risk of having a brain bleed than other patients.

One possible reason for the increased stroke is that certain TBI health complications—cardiac injuries, blood clotting, and torn arteries can result in a stroke.

Stroke:
A stroke can occur when there is a disruption in the flow of blood to the brain. A stroke is considered a medical emergency. Getting immediate care can save the patient’s live and decrease the chances of permanent disability. A stroke can lead to numerous complications, which can prove even more challenging for someone suffering from a Hickory, North Carolina TBI: Aspiration, factures, permanent brain function loss, mobility problems, loss of the ability to move parts of the body, factures, lower life span, and problems communicating.

Unfortunately, North Carolina traumatic brain injuries can occur as a result of car accidents, motorcycle crashes, truck collisions, pedestrian accidents, an assault crime, boating accidents, work injuries, slip and fall accidents, construction accidents, falling debris, or other incidents.

Living with a Lumberton, North Carolina traumatic brain injury can be challenging and expensive. Depending on the severity of the brain injury, the victim may not be able to work or survive without round-the-clock nursing care. In addition to basic living expenses, there also may be bills to contend with for rehabilitation and physical therapy. A TBI can also take an emotional toll on the victim and loved ones, whose lives will never be the same.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury lawyers are committed to helping traumatic brain injury patients and their families recover damages for medical costs, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, lost wages, and other compensation from all liable parties.

Brain injury may boost stroke risk, USA Today, August 1, 2011

National Stroke Association

Traumatic Brain Injury, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Injury Lawsuit Seeks Damages from Pittsboro Retirement Center for Assault that Left Elderly Resident with Brain Injuries, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2011

North Carolina Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors at Greater Risk of Suffering from Depression, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 20, 2010

Over 37,000 North Carolina Brain Injury Patients a Year Require Emergency Room Care, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 24, 2010

 

Alleged Shooter That Caused Eight Carthage, North Carolina Nursing Home Deaths to Go on Trial

July 11, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Jury selection is scheduled to begin today in the criminal trial of Robert Kenneth Stewart, the man accused of entering a Carthage, North Carolina nursing home and fatally shooting eight people (seven residents and a male nurse) and injuring three others on March 29, 2009. Stewart is charged with eight counts of criminal murder, two counts of attempted murder, and other criminal counts. His estranged wife, Wanda Stewart, says she believes he had gone to Pinelake Health and Rehab to look for her.

Because of the publicity surrounding the shooting, Stewart’s lawyer sought to have the criminal case moved out of Moore County. A judge has since ruled that jurors would come from Stanley County but that the trial would be held in Carthage. Some 750 people have been placed on notice for possible jury duty. Also expected to be at the proceedings are the families whose loved ones Stewart fatally shot (a number of these loved ones have already filed a Carthage wrongful death lawsuit accusing the nursing home of North Carolina nursing home negligence and providing inadequate security).

A complaint filed by the estates of John Goldston, Louise DeKler, Lillian Dunn, and Margaret Johnson claims that Wanda Stewart warned administrators that an attack by Stewart on her was “imminent.” They also believe she told them her husband was in an “unstable mentally state” and possessed firearms.

The day the shooting happened, Stewart was at the Alzheimer’s special care unit, which is locked 24 hours/day and can only be accessed by entering a passcode on a key panel. Meantime, the rest of the facility allegedly remained “readily accessible by anyone” while patients and their families were never warned about the possible threat that Stewart posed. The families have also named Wanda as a defendant in their case. They are accusing her of negligence, including the failure to warn the victims about her husband.

Families claim Carthage nursing home knew of potential attack, WRAL, July 11, 2011

Stewart Trial Set to Start, ThePilot, July 11, 2011

Related Web Resources:
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Licensed Facilities: NC Division of Health Service Regulation


More Blog Posts:

Forsythe County, North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence?: Resident Who Drowned in Puddle in 2009 is Identified by Police, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 16, 2011

Over 18,000 Reports of North Carolina Elder Abuse and Neglect Made in 2010, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 9, 2011

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence Alleged in Wrongful Death Lawsuits of Shooting Victims’ Families, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, December 21, 2010

 

Forsythe County, North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence?: Resident Who Drowned in Puddle in 2009 is Identified by Police

June 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Mamie Louise Holder Shelton, a 92-year-old North Carolina nursing home resident, is the name of the woman who drowned in a puddle after wandering 200 feet from Bradford Village of Kernersville – East LLC 413 on November 12, 2009. She was discovered lying face down in water about 2 inches deep. Police say that abrasions on Shelton’s knees and hands are consistent with a North Carolina fall accident and they do not suspect foul play.

Shelton, who was legally blind, suffered from coronary artery disease and dementia. She needed a wheelchair and a walker to properly get around. The nursing home patient appears to have walked out of a facility door between 2 and 4am. No one noticed because the door’s alarm had been turned off. According to nursing home staff, alarms at Bradford Village often were deactivated so that workers could go on smoking breaks.

Following the North Carolina nursing home death, the assisted living facility fired five workers. The N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation imposed a $20,000 fine over the incident. Meantime, state regulators found that the Forsythe County assisted living facility had violated codes related to personal care, supervision, physical environment, and resident rights. They also said that the nursing home did not make sure that proper measures were executed to stop patients at risk of wandering from leaving the facility without supervision.

Our North Carolina nursing home negligence lawyers know how to prove that an assisted living facility’s negligence resulted in abuse or neglect. Many patients who suffer from dementia are a wandering/elopement risk. It is important to gather evidence showing that a patient could/should have been prevented from walking out of the nursing home without supervision.

Wandering accident can lead to fatal falls, motor vehicle accident injuries, hypothermia, and other life-threatening conditions or incidents. It doesn’t help that it may be awhile before facility workers notice and/or find a missing assisted living facility patient.

Nursing home patient who drowned in puddle identified, 2journalnow, June 2, 2011

N.C. Division of Health Service Regulation

More Blog Posts:
Over 18,000 Reports of North Carolina Elder Abuse and Neglect Made in 2010, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 9, 2011

Forsyth County-Owned Assisted Living Facility Accused of North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 31, 2011

North Carolina Injury Lawsuit Seeks Damages from Pittsboro Retirement Center for Assault that Left Elderly Resident with Brain Injuries, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2011

Over 18,000 Reports of North Carolina Elder Abuse and Neglect Made in 2010

May 9, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services, the state’s 100 county departments of social services received over 18,000 reports of elderly neglect, abuse, or exploitation last year. Family members, doctors, and community members are among those who submitted their concerns. Elder abuse and neglect are clearly issues that are not going away anytime soon. To raise awareness of North Carolina elder abuse and neglect, the Governor Bev Perdue has declared May 6, 2011 through June 20, 2011 Vulnerable and Elder Abuse Awareness Month.

Research shows that victims of elderly abuse, exploitation, and neglect are three times more likely to die in 10 years than if they weren’t abused. Seeing as over 2 million elderly and vulnerable adults are harmed in these ways each year, these findings are truly disturbing. It doesn’t help that the number of elder abuse incidents are severely underreported.

Throughout the state, our Charlotte, North Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers have seen the devastating effect abuse, exploitation, and neglect can have on victims and the toll this type of violence can take. The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo LLP represents victims who have been injured, neglected, assaulted, or abused at assisted living facilities and in private homes.

What to do if you suspect elder abuse/neglect:
If you are able to, it is important that you remove your loved one from an abusive situation and keep him/her from any alleged perpetrators. You may need to get your loved one medical help for injuries. You should also speak with a Charlotte, North Carolina elder abuse law firm to explore your legal options.

Because North Carolina is a mandatory reporting state, if you suspect any type of abuse or neglect or exploitation, you must notify your county’s social services department about your suspicions right away. Your name will be kept confidential unless a court order mandates otherwise. You could be saving someone’s life.

North Carolina Observes Vulnerable Adult and Elder Abuse Awareness Month, North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

Related Web Resources:
National Center on Elder Abuse

Inside Elder Care

Elder Abuse, Medline Plus

Medicare.gov

More Blog Posts:
Forsyth County-Owned Assisted Living Facility Accused of North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 31, 2011

Two People Sustain Burn Injuries in Fire at Charlotte, North Carolina Nursing Home, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, February 12, 2011

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence: Britthaven of Chapel Hill Sued for Inadequate Care, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, July 10, 2010

 

The Number of North Carolina Elder Abuse and Neglect Complaints is Rising, Say State Officials

May 1, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina officials are reporting an increase in complaints of possible elder abuse and neglect incidents, with an approximately 20% increase in the the number of requests made between ’06 –’07 and ’07-’08 to state adult-protection officers asking that they further investigate the allegations. One reason for this, according to state ombudsmen for long-term care Sharon Wilder, is that the number of people older than 60 living in North Carolina is on the rise.

By 2030, there are expected to be almost 2.9 million seniors over age 60 living in the state. Wilder also says the number of North Carolina elder abuse complaints are increasing because the children of elderly people living in North Carolina nursing homes are less likely to put up with allowing their loved ones to become the victims of caregiver abuse or nursing home neglect. State officials say that 15% of elder abuse incidents happen in long-term care facilities, with the other incidents taking place in private residences.

One challenge to investigating elder abuse and neglect allegations is that in certain cases, the victim may be too sick or frail to report what is happening to him or her. The News & Observer recently published an article about one case involving Della Jarrett, an 88-year-old woman staying at a Raleigh nursing home. She had unexplained bruises on her face, and no one from Sunnybrook Healthcare and Rehabilitation could explain to Jarrett’s daughter, Doris Weaver, why her mother’s eye and face were bruised and swollen. Jarrett has advanced dementia and cannot walk or roll over.

Weaver reported the incident to Raleigh police. Meantime, Sunnybrook officials suspended an employee but deny that Jarrett was the victim of nursing home abuse. North Carolina law defines caretaker abuse to include the intentional act of inflicting physical injury or pain and purposely depriving someone of services.

Yet even when a nursing home worker isn’t intentionally trying to hurt a resident or withhold the proper care, injuries and accidents can happen. Nursing inexperience can lead to fall accidents, failure to properly clean a resident’s wounds, failure to follow specific feeding procedures, and poor resident supervision.

Abuse hard to verify if injured can’t speak, The News & Observer, June 3, 2009

National Center on Elder Abuse

Related Web Resources:
Nursing Homes, Medicare.gov

North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

Davidson County, North Carolina Wrongful Death: Mom of Teenager Struck by Paving Stone Files Lawsuit

April 23, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Lisa Hill Chisom, the mom of a high school student who died from injuries she sustained when someone threw a paving stone through the windshield of the car she was in is suing a number people for North Carolina wrongful death. Shelby Chisom died last August. The 17-year-old was returning from a party when the incident happened. The stone lacerated her liver and Shelby died from her injuries.

Michael John Craver, who threw the stone, recently pleaded guilty second-degree murder. According to Chisom’s Davidson County, North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit, Michael threw the 25-pound paving stone after his cousin Ethan Craver told him to “take care of” that car.

Ethan Craver, Tyler Lawrence Price, Alyssa Christine Everhart, Krista Leigh Cummings, and a woman named Jordan Pierce allegedly had gotten into an altercation with Shelby, whom Price accused of stealing her boyfriend. All of them were attending the same party.

Tensions then carried over onto the road when someone in the car Everhart was driving threw a bottle of beer at the vehicle Hince was driving and that Shelby was riding. Hince then began following the other car at a fast speed. Ethan Craver, who was in the other car, then directed Michael to take action.

Chisom contends that Ethan knew of Michael’s history of violence and bullying and should have realized that when drunk, the latter would act with “reckless disregard.” She is seeking compensatory damages from Michael Craver, Ethan Craver, Price, Hince, Cummings, Everhart, Katherine C. Pritchard, and her son John Tyler Pritchard. She also wants punitive damages from Katherine Pritchard, both Cravers, and Hince. The Pritchards’ residence is where the party took place.

Chisom contends that Katherine Pritchard and her older son John Pritchard knew there would be minors drinking at the party that was held at their home and even bought alcohol. About 30-50 people attended the event where they were allegedly allowed to burn lawn furniture and use drugs.

North Carolina Wrongful Death
Losing someone you love is very difficult. It can be just as devastating to know that your loved one died because of other people’s reckless actions. You may be able to obtain Charlotte, North Carolina wrongful death damages from the responsible parties.

Mother of teen killed by paving stone files wrongful death lawsuit, Winston-Salem Journal, April 18, 2011

Mother of Teen Killed by Paving Stone Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit, MyFox8, April 20, 2011

Related Web Resource:
Wrongful Death Claims, Nolo

More Blog Posts:
$14.9M North Carolina Wrongful Death Judgment Awarded to Jimmy Blevins’ Family, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 14, 2011

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence Alleged in Wrongful Death Lawsuits of Shooting Victims’ Families, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, December 21, 2010

Deceased Man’s Estate Files Fayetteville, North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Shopping Mall and Nightclub, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, December 30, 2009

Forsyth County-Owned Assisted Living Facility Accused of North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse

March 31, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to government inspectors, workers at Springwood Care Center of Forsyth struck a resident in the eye last October. The state says that the patient reported the North Carolina nursing home abuse incident to a relative of hers who noticed that the resident had a bruise on her face. The incident allegedly occurred last October.

Nursing home staff are supposed to report any abuse allegations as soon as possible. They are also supposed to not allow accused workers from working with the alleged victim while an investigation takes place. However, the Forsyth County-owned nursing home, which is run by Novant Health Care, reportedly waited several days before following this protocol. Since then the two nursing home assistants have been given written warnings and they must undergo more training on a regular basis. A Novant official has denied the North Carolina nursing home abuse allegations.

North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse
Assault by an assisted living facility worker is North Carolina nursing home abuse. Signs of possible nursing home abuse, include:

• Unexplained bruises
• Burn marks
• Open sores
• Torn clothing
• Sudden weight loss or gain
• Fractures or broken bones
• Sudden depression
• Emotional withdrawal
• Fear of a certain nursing home worker
• Sexual assault injuries

You should speak with a Hickory, North Carolina nursing home abuse law firm to determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.

Although Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare site gave Springwood Care Center of Forsyth a four out of five star rating for “quality measures,” the North Carolina assisted living facility received a one star rating for staffing and an overall one star rating. Five stars is the highest rating possible and one star is the lowest rating.

In addition to physical injury and emotional trauma, nursing home abuse violates the patient’s civil rights. It can also cause a resident’s health to deteriorate.

County-owned nursing home has lowest rating, allegation that patient hit in eye, Winston-Salem Journal, March 30, 2011

Nursing Home Compare, Medicare.gov

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes, Nolo

More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Injury Lawsuit Seeks Damages from Pittsboro Retirement Center for Assault that Left Elderly Resident with Brain Injuries, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2011

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence Alleged in Wrongful Death Lawsuits of Shooting Victims’ Families, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, December 21, 2011

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence?: Facility Investigated Following Five Patient Deaths from Hepatitis B, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 16, 2010

Charlotte, North Carolina Slip and Fall Accidents Can Cause Painful, Debilitating, and Costly Personal Injuries

February 13, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you were hurt in a North Carolina fall accident on someone else’s property you may have grounds for a personal injury case. Today, our Charlotte, North Carolina injury lawyers would like to discuss slip and fall injuries in greater depth.

Slip and fall accidents cause injury to thousands of people each years. While what sounds like a minor accident of someone slipping on a slippery, slick, or wet surface and landing on the ground can seem harmless enough, this type of accident actually lead to serious and painful, debilitating injuries, and, in some cases, death.

For example, a North Carolina slip and fall accident on frozen ice can cause the victim to strike his/her head and sustain a traumatic brain injury, or a slip accident on a banana peel left on a flight of stairs can lead to back injuries and broken bones. For elderly persons, hip dislocation and fractures have been known to occur because of slip and fall accidents. Infection, health complications, and challenges with recovery can also occur.

North Carolina Premises Liability
To prove that the owner of the property where the North Carolina slip and fall accident is liable for your injuries, you will have to show that he/she was negligent and that this was the proximate cause of your personal injury. This means that you need to demonstrate that the premise owner either knew or should have been aware that there was a dangerous condition on the property, there was sufficient time to warn about or fix the condition after finding out about it, and North Carolina personal injury occurred as a result of these failures.

Other types of fall accidents that can be grounds for a premises liability case include trip and fall accidents, which involves the victim tripping on an object on the floor or an uneven part of the ground, step and fall accidents, which can be caused by the victim stepping into a gap or opening on the ground, and stump and fall accidents, which can occur because of an impediment on the floor. Examples of possible slip/trip/step/stump and fall accidents:

• Slipping on the wet floor of a hotel lobby
• Slipping on spilt milk left on a grocery store floor
• Tripping on toys left on the staircase
• Stepping into a pothole and falling forward
• Stumbling on an overgrown tree root in someone’s front yard
• Stumbling and falling backward off a stairwell because inadequate lighting made it hard to see

In North Carolina, you have three years from the date of the accident to file your Charlotte, North Carolina slip and fall lawsuit.

Slip and Fall, Nolo

Premises Liability, Justia


More Blog Posts:

More Reason to Prevent North Carolina Nursing Home Fall Accidents: Men More at Risk of Dying from Hip Fractures While Women Are More Likely to Sustain The Injury, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 16, 2010

North Carolina Personal Injury Filed Over 2008 Assault at Convenience Store Alleges Inadequate Security, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, February 28, 2011

Mother Dies in North Carolina Fall Accident From Dorm Bunk Bed While Visiting Daughter at UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 13, 2010

Two People Sustain Burn Injuries in Fire at Charlotte, North Carolina Nursing Home

February 12, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Two people were transported to the hospital on Saturday night after they were injured in a fire at White Oak Manor, a Charlotte, North Carolina nursing home. According to fire investigators, one of the victims has life-threatening injuries.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm is aware of the havoc burn injuries can wreak on the body. If you sustained burn injuries in a fire it is important that you seek medical attention right away. If you believed that the fire was caused by another party’s negligence, you should explore your legal options immediately.

In addition to working with an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina burn injury lawyer that understands the seriousness of your injuries and how much medical care you will likely need to recover, your legal representation can determine whether you have grounds for a case of North Carolina nursing home negligence, premises liability, and/or any other type of personal injury.

Last year, federal regulators ranked White Oak Manor as “average” during its annual survey of nursing homes.

Burn Injuries:
1st degree burns: The burn impacts the outer layer of the skin
2nd degree burns: the skin’s outer layer and the layer beneath the skin have been damaged
3rd degree burns: Impacts the deeper layers of skin and the tissue underneath it

Burn injuries can be excruciatingly painful and life-altering. While some burns can be treated with antibiotic creams, more serious burns can lead to blistering, swelling, scarring, disfigurement, infection, dehydration, amputations, loss of the sense of touch, loss of the ability to perspire, organ damage, other serious complications, and/or death.

UPDATED: Fire at Charlotte nursing home injures two, WBTV, February 12, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Burns, MedlinePlus

NC Division of Aging and Adult Services

The International Society for Burn Injuries

Related Blog Posts:
North Carolina Injury Lawsuit Seeks Damages from Pittsboro Retirement Center for Assault that Left Elderly Resident with Brain Injuries, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2011

Products Liability: Two Families Sue for Wrongful Deaths of Loved Ones Fatally Burned While Wearing Flammable Bathrobes, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, November 6, 2009

Goldsboro Driver Sustains Burn Injuries in Fayetteville, North Carolina Truck Crash, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, October 23, 2009

Caretaker Accused of North Carolina Elder Abuse in Beating of 91-Year-Old Woman

January 27, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Police in Kings Mountain have charged Lisa Parson Jones with assault on a handicapped person. Jones is the live-in caretaker of a 91-year-old woman. She is accused of beating the elderly senior and throwing her across a room.

Unfortunately, North Carolina elder abuse is not uncommon. While nursing home abuse is what usually makes headlines, in private homes in the US there are also sick and elderly persons that are the victims of elder abuse, neglect, and financial abuse. Sometimes, the caretaker is a family member. In other instances, the caretaker is a professional who was hired from an agency, or independently, to provide private nursing care to a sick, frail, or mentally ill person.

Elder abuse is a crime and can cause serious injury or illness to the victim. Unfortunately, because elder abuse in the home occurs in a private setting, it often goes undetected—especially when a relative is the perpetrator.

In the event that you discover that your loved one is the victim of elder abuse or neglect by a caretaker, you should contact a Gaston County nursing home abuse law firm right away. Among those most susceptible to caretaker abuse are patients who have trouble speaking or communicating, cannot physically defend themselves, or who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. Physical abuse, sexual assault, verbal abuse, medical neglect, “forgetting” to feed a patient or administer medications as scheduled, stealing money from a patient, or getting/him or her to add the caretaker’s name to a will are just a few examples of caretaker abuse.

Police: Caretaker beat 91-year-old woman, Charlotte Observer, January 27, 2011

Related Web Resources:
National Center on Elder Abuse

What is Elder Abuse?, Administration on Aging

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence Alleged in Wrongful Death Lawsuits of Shooting Victims’ Families

December 21, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The families of two of the eight people who were shot and killed during a shooting at Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center on March 20009 are suing the assisted living facility for North Carolina nursing home negligence. In their North Carolina wrongful death complaints, the relatives of 78-year-old John Goldston and 98-year-old Louise DeKler claim that the Carthage assisted living facility and its owner Peak Resources did not do enough to protect residents despite the fact that the alleged shooter Robert Stewart’s estranged wife had warned the facility’s supervisors that he might come for her that day.

Killed in the North Carolina nursing home shooting were Goldston, De Kler, five other nursing home patients and a nurse. Two other people sustained injuries.

Stewart is accused of storming the assisted living facility and firing at people while searching for his wife, who was hiding in a closet. A police officer entered the nursing home and shot him. Stewart now faces eight counts of first-degree murder. If he is convicted, prosecutors would like to see him get the death penalty.

The families of DeKler and Goldston are contending that the defendants could have set up even the most basic protections, such as a surveillance system and someone to work the front desk and lock the front doors after Stewart’s wife warned that he might go to the facility. The plaintiffs say that Stewart was able to walk fully armed through the Carthage nursing home.

Nursing Home Negligence
Assisted living facilities are supposed to protect their patients from becoming the victims of North Carolina nursing home abuse, neglect, sexual assault, and other violent acts. When failure to act or implement the necessary safety measures allows such crimes to happen, the residents and their families may have grounds for a civil suit seeking damages for North Carolina personal injury or wrongful death.

Families of Victims Sue in North Carolina Nursing Home Shootings, Insurance Journal, December 17, 2010

Families of victims in Carthage nursing home shootings file suit, FayObserver, December 16, 2010

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Nursing Home Rampage Leaves Seven Patients and One Nurse Dead and A Visitor and Police Officer with Injuries, North Carolina Injury Lawyer BLog, March 31, 2009

NC Division of Aging and Adult Services

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence?: Facility Investigated Following Five Patient Deaths from Hepatitis B

November 16, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Public health investigators have been looking into whether the use of unclean or shared diabetes testing equipment caused at least eight patients to contract hepatitis B GlenCare Mount Olive center the GlenCare of Mount Olive. Five of the patients passed away last week. The average age of those who developed the virus is 70. This week, the state released its findings.

According to the NC Division of Public Health, certain staff members did not receive proper training on how to take care of diabetic patients and the assisted living facility violated resident rights. The virus was spread because blood monitor meters used for diabetes testing that had come into contact with tainted blood.

During the probe, a medication tech had indicated that adjustable lancing devices had been used on more than one patient and that the devices, as well as glucometers, were not routinely disinfected or cleaned in between uses. Also, nursing home employees reported that they were only allowed to use one box of gloves a shift, which forced them to have to buy their own additional gloves.

Hepatitis B
The Centers for Disease Control says that hepatitis B serious disease can impact the liver, resulting in diarrhea, appetite lose, jaundice, tiredness, vomiting, stomach pain, and joint and muscle aches. People with diabetes have a 15 times greater chance of developing acute hepatitis B.

It is the responsibility of nursing homes to make sure that they provide residents with the proper medical, nursing, and daily care, while protecting them from North Carolina nursing home abuse, neglect, and negligence. This includes making sure that the patients are not exposed to any unsafe or unsanitary conditions that could cause them to become even more ill or die.

Officials Release Findings In GlenCare Investigation, NBC17.com, November 16, 2010

Unclean procedures likely caused 5 hepatitis B deaths at nursing home, NewsObserver, November 12, 2010

Report: Unsafe practices led to fatal NC outbreak, NECN, November 12, 2010

Related Web Resources:
NC Divison of Public Health

Hepatitis B, eMedicineHealth

North Carolina Personal Injury: A Free Step-by-Step Guide for Victims and Their Families

November 11, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Our Charlotte, North Carolina injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, L.L.P. know how confusing and scared you must feel now that you or a loved one has been involved in an accident. To help you get through this stressful and challenging time, we have written a book called “Carolina Injury Law: A Reference Guide for Accident Victims” that is available for free to all South Carolina and North Carolina residents. This step-by-step guide was created to answer many of your questions about the claims process and provide you with information on how to best pursue your financial recovery from a responsible party.

In the book, Our Monroe, North Carolina personal injury attorneys will walk you through the process, provide you with concise and clear information about your legal rights, and offer valuable insights about a number of topics, including:

• Basic insurance concepts
• Dealing with underinsured and uninsured motorists
• Workers’ compensation
• Understanding your injuries
• Understanding damages
• Choosing a lawyer
• What to expect as a plaintiff
• When to file a lawsuit
• The litigation process
• Settling your case
• Your personal injury trial

The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP has locations in the North Carolina cities of Charlotte, Monroe, Hickory, and Lumberton. We represent clients and their families in North Carolina and South Carolina whose cases involve personal injury, wrongful death, workers’ compensation, nursing home abuse and neglect, and social security disability.

Our Lumberton, North Carolina injury lawyers have worked with 10 other US law firms to provide you with this invaluable public service resource. To receive your free copy, send an e-mail request that includes your name and address to Kristine Woolley at kwoolley@demayolaw.com or download a free copy at www.DeMayoLaw.com.

North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse, Medical Malpractice, and Inadequate Care Among Reasons Given for Why State Wants to Fine Chapel Hill Assisted Living Facility $20K

August 17, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fine the Britthaven of Chapel Hill nursing home $20,000 in penalties. This amount is the federal maximum allowed for violations, which investigators say took place in February.

Following investigations of the Chapel Hill nursing home by the Nursing Home Licensure and Certification Section on February 18, June 15, 16, 17, 29, July 1and 27 of this year, the state found evidence supporting 8 of 25 complaints that were filed, including those involving:

• Failure to protect 14 Alzheimer’s patients from becoming victims of abuse.
• Failure to ensure protect patients from being administered unnecessary drugs.
• Failure to prevent medical mistakes.

The violations stem from incidents connected to Angela Almore, a former registered nurse who has been charged with North Carolina nursing home abuse and second-degree murder for the death of resident Rachel Holliday. The 84-year-old patient had morphine levels in her system that likely contributed to her death from pneumonia and asphyxiation. Almore is also blamed for the morphine-related injuries of six other residents. None of them had morphine prescriptions as part of their treatment.

It was just last year that CMS fined Britthaven of Chapel Hill $216,400 for not being in compliance with certain requirements. Resident Mary Lou Barzon, 95, broke both thigh bones when a nursing home worker dropped her while transferring the patient to her bed. The nursing assistant did not use a mechanical lift, even though the patient’s care plan called for it. No one reported the North Carolina fall accident, which left Barzon’s injuries untreated for two weeks. The elderly resident passed away soon after. Now, her family is suing the assisted living facility for her Chapel Hill wrongful death.

In another Chapel Hill nursing home negligence lawsuit against Britthaven of Chapel Hill, Marian Orlowski’s widow is seeking damages. Orlowski, who had dementia, was injured in a fall accident. Jadwiga Orlowski claims the assisted living facility did not provide her husband with the proper nursing care.

Nursing home may be fined, NewsObserver.com, August 12, 2010

Report calls for Britthaven fines, The Herald Sun, August 11, 2010

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence: Britthaven of Chapel Hill Sued for Inadequate Care, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, July 10, 2010

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services

Nursing Home Licensure and Certification Section

Charlotte, North Carolina Injury Attorney Michael A. DeMayo Now a Member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum

August 10, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Michael A. DeMayo, a Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury lawyer, is now a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the country. Members must have won multi-million dollar verdicts, settlements, and awards for their clients. Attorney DeMayo, who is founder and president of the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, is also a Life Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Less than 1% of US attorneys belong to this group, known for its excellence in advocacy and for having obtained for at least one client an award, settlement, or verdict of $1 million or greater.

Charlotte, Personal Injury Attorney DeMayo leads a team of dedicated professionals with over 100 years of combined legal experience. They are committed to obtaining the financial recovery that their clients and families are owed by negligent parties. Our North Carolina law firm represents victims and surviving family members with all types of injury cases, including those involving medical malpractice, automobile accidents, truck accidents, slip and fall, products liability, defective medical devices, dangerous drugs, nursing home neglect and abuse, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, pedestrian accidents, and workers’ compensation. The Law Offices of Michael DeMayo is located in Charlotte, Monroe, Hickory, and Lumberton, North Carolina. We also represent clients with South Carolina personal injury cases in the counties of Marlboro, Chesterfield, York and Lancaster.

Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Michael A. DeMayo is also an active member of the community. Each year, his law firm awards college scholarships to a number of high school seniors for their innovative and creative ideas on ways to stop teens from driving drunk.

Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum & Million Dollar Advocates Forum

Michael A. DeMayo, Esq.

Verdicts & Settlements, Law Office of Michael A. DeMayo

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

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

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.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina Nursing Home Under Investigation Following Patient’s Death

June 7, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina officials are investigating Britthaven of Chapel Hill for possible wrongdoing related to the administration of strong-pain control drugs to Alzheimer’s patients. Nine residents tested positive for these medications, including opiates, which they weren’t supposed to be taking. Six of the Alzheimer’s patients were taken to NC Hospitals. One of the patients, 84-year-old Rachel Holliday has died.

Police say they are trying to determine whether over-medication occurred.
The State Bureau of Investigation and the Medicaid Investigations Unit of the Attorney General’s Office are overseeing the investigation.

According to experts, North Carolina nursing home neglect and abuse is a serious issue of concern at assisted living facilities that house dementia and Alzheimer’s presents. One reason for this is that some nursing homes may practice chemical restraint, which involves using medication to control residents’ behavior. Sometimes, a patient may be treated with antipsychotic drugs merely because he or she is exhibiting problem behavior, such as wandering, aggression, or shouting at people, even though he/she doesn’t have a medical condition that merits the medications’ use.

Prescription drug abuse involving unnecessary, anti-psychotic meds can cause strokes and even kill elderly residents. Overmedicating a patient or making him/her take prescription meds for no other reason than control can be grounds for a Chapel Hill nursing home negligence lawsuit.

Britthaven runs 33 nursing homes in the state. While four of the assisted living facilities received top ranking from Medicare’s 5-star nursing home rating system, 12 of them, including Britthaven, earned no more than two stars. Over the years, a number of nursing home nursing home negligence lawsuits have been filed against the Chapel Hill assisted living facility. The long-term care facility was sued for North Carolina wrongful death after a patient who had been restrained died.

State launches criminal probe of Chapel Hill nursing home, WRAL, February 19, 2010

Doctors Say Medication Is Overused in Dementia, NY Times, June 24, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Dementia Patients On Antipsychotic Meds At Risk, Medicine.net

North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

Britthaven of Chapel Hill

US News Offers Nine Thoughts to Consider When Looking for a Nursing Home

May 31, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

With the life expectancy rate getting longer, more elderly persons are having to stay at assisted living facilities. In 2007 alone, 975 people resided in 38,000 US nursing homes in 2007. In 2030, there will likely be71.5 million seniors in the over 65 age group occupying this planet.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina nursing home neglect and abuse law firm knows that deciding if and where you should allow your loved one to live is a very important decision. Not only do you want to make sure that your family receives the proper nursing care, but also, it is imperative that he/she does not become the victim of nursing home abuse, neglect, sexual assault, elder financial abuse, or patient violence. You also want to make sure that your loved one feels as safe and content as he/she can be when living at a nursing home.

According to US News & World Report, that when looking for the right nursing home you need to consider:

• Choose an assisted living facility that is located in a place that allows your loved one to still feel connected to his/her community.

• Make sure that the nursing home can provide the type of medical and nursing care your loved one needs.

• Choose a facility that is licensed and meets the state’s nursing home standards and requirements

• Get recommendations from friends and do your research before choosing a place.

• Visit the nursing home more than once. Check out life at the facility during the day and at night.

• Talk to residents that are living at the nursing home now and ask them about the staff, the food, security, and whether or not they are satisfied with their experience.

US News Offers Nine Thoughts to Consider When Looking for a Nursing Home, US News, May 27, 2010

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

May is Older Americans Month, Administration on Aging

Protecting Your Loved One From North Carolina Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

April 17, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Our Charlotte, North Carolina nursing home negligence lawyers represent patients (and their families) that have been injured or died because of nursing home neglect and abuse. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering due to the mistreatment or lack of care he or she is receiving at an assisted living facility anywhere in North Carolina or South Carolina, do not hesitate to remove your loved one from the nursing home, report the incident, and seek legal advice.

While you can never predict whether or not your loved one will become the victim of Hickory, North Carolina nursing home abuse or neglect, you can take steps to decrease the likelihood by personally inspecting the facility before deciding to place your relative at the home, reading federal and state ratings evaluations, and finding out whether or not the assisted living facility has a history of nursing home negligence or safety violations.

A number of factors can increase the likelihood of nursing home negligence at a long-term care facility, such as:
• Not enough nursing home workers on staff
• Low nursing home worker to patient ratio, leaving each employee to take care of more patients that he/she can handle
• Unsanitary conditions
• Inadequate (or no) criminal background checks conducted on prospective nursing home workers and patients
• Inadequately trained employees
• Inadequate security
• History of nursing home abuse or neglect at the long-term care facility
• History of patients dying or becoming more ill because of poor nursing care

Some signs of possible North Carolina nursing home abuse or neglect:
• Unexplained bruises
• Bedsores
• Sudden weight loss or weight gain
• Malnutrition
• Soiled clothing
• Complaints by the patient that he or she is being mistreated
• Unusual patient behavior
• A resident’s sudden desire for isolation
• The patient appears emotionally aggravated

Related Web Resources:
Elder Abuse and Neglect, Helpguide.org

Nursing Homes, NC Division of Aging and Adult Services

10 Things Nursing Homes Won’t Tell You, Smart Money, April 18, 2010

Chapel Hill Nursing Home Abuse?: Cary Nurse Indicted in Murder of Alzheimer’s Patient

March 4, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Angela Almore, a registered nurse from Cary, is charged with six counts of felony patient abuse and second-degree murder in the death of 84-year-old Rachel Holliday on February 16. The 84-year-old Alzheimer’s patient was a resident at Britthaven of Chapel Hill when she died.

According to officials, last February, nine of the patients in the Alzheimer’s unit of the Chapel Hill nursing home tested positive for opiates, which are often used to manage pain. Six of them, including Halliday, had to be hospitalized.

According to a medical examiner that looked at the elderly woman’s records, she died from pneumonia-related asphyxiation with morphine toxicity as a contributing factor to her death. Tests conducted prior to her passing found that her morphine level was over 50,000 nanograms per milliliter of urine. Holliday and some of the other patients who tested positive for opiates weren’t supposed to be taking any pain medication.

After her death, the Chapel Hill nursing home tested its staffers at the Alzheimer’s unit for drugs. Their results came back negative.

North Carolina Elder Abuse
Mistreating, neglecting, or depriving a nursing home resident of the proper care in any way is a violation of his/her rights, against the law, and can be grounds for a North Carolina nursing home neglect and abuse lawsuit against the assisted living facility and the nursing home worker responsible for inflicting the abuse or neglect.

Overmedicating, administering the wrong medication, using drugs as a form of chemical restraint, or not giving a patient all of his/her medication is North Carolina nursing home negligence and can cause a resident to become seriously ill or die.

Murder charge filed in nursing home death, WRAL.com, June 7, 2010

Nurse indicted in patient’s death, NewsObserver, June 7, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Britthaven of Chapel Hill

NC Division of Health Service Regulation

Chatham Retirement Home Sued in North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed Over Fatal Elder Abuse Beatings

February 17, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The families of Margaret Murta and Mary Corcoran have filed North Carolina wrongful death lawsuits against Galloway Ridge, the upscale retirement home where the two women lived. Corcoran, 82 and Murta, 92, were murdered by their housekeeper at the Chatham community in December 2007. Police say Barbara Turrentine Clark showered the two women with pepper spray and beat them with a cane during a disagreement over forged checks.

In October 2008, the 42-year-old housekeeper pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and two counts of first-degree murder. She was sentenced to consecutive lifetime prison sentences.

The Chatham County, North Carolina wrongful death lawsuits accuse Galloway Ridge of failing to properly protect its residents. They contend that the retirement community failed to check Clark’s criminal background before bringing her on as a housekeeper.

The housekeeper had engaged in financial elder abuse before working at Galloway Ridge. Clark pleaded guilty in 2007 to check forgery. In 2001, she pleaded guilty to stealing from an elderly person in Durham. She had been ordered to not work in jobs that allowed her access to older persons and their assets.

Assisted living facilities and retirement centers can be held liable for North Carolina nursing home negligence, premises liability, or personal injury if their neglectful or careless acts contributed to causing a resident’s injuries or death.

Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse is a crime and you can file a North Carolina elder abuse lawsuit if you or someone you love is a victim. Signs of possible elder financial abuse:

• Sudden changes to an elderly person’s will
• Sudden transfer of property ownership
• Elderly person becomes broke unexpectedly
• Unusual checking account or credit card activity
• Elderly person can no longer pay for living expenses

Suit filed in beating deaths at Chatham retirement community, WRAL, February 10, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Financial Abuse, National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse

Galloway Ridge

State Combats North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect with Tougher Ratings Standards

January 5, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Beginning this week, the state of North Carolina is imposing tougher standards on assisted living facilities. Nursing homes can now receive a four star rating, but it will be harder to earn this highest rating and a facility will have to earn high ratings for over two years. Nursing home violations, such as medication mistakes, nursing home neglect, poor nursing care, hazardous conditions, inadequate worker training, and poor sanitation, will now count against a nursing home when its rating is determined. North Carolina investigators visit assisted living facilities throughout the year. A facility’s rating is posted within 45 days of the visit.

North Carolina’s new rating system went into effect in 2007. The Division of Adult Care Licensure began issuing star ratings last year but previous penalties for inadequate care weren’t factored into the assessments.

While the rating system provides a guide for family members seeking to find the proper assisted living facility for their loved one, it is still important for relatives to visit prospective nursing homes, talk to workers, and observe the facilities and the residents. North Carolina nursing home negligence continues to be a problem at a number of facilities and it is the sick and elderly patients that suffer.

Bedsores, sudden weight loss, unexplained weight gain, poor hygiene, unexplained bruises, bedsores, fall injuries, change in the patient’s behavior, mood swings, and depression are some signs that a nursing home patient may be the victim of abuse or neglect. A sick or elderly person can die because of nursing home negligence.

Elder-care ratings get tougher, Charlotte Observer, January 5, 2010

NC adds 4-star rating for adult-care homes, Daily Comet, January 4, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Star Rating Program, NC Division of Adult Care Licensure

Nursing Homes, North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

More Reason to Prevent North Carolina Nursing Home Fall Accidents: Men More at Risk of Dying from Hip Fractures While Women Are More Likely to Sustain The Injury

December 1, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, women are up to three times more likely to sustain hip fractures than men, and the latter are more likely to die from having these breaks. This is why it is so important that assisted living facilities make sure that unnecessary nursing home fall accidents do not happen.

Adults in the 65 and over age group are most vulnerable to suffering from hip fractures. Other facts, based on 39 studies involving 155,000 males and almost 600,000 women, ages 50 and over, with hip fractures:

• Older women have a six times greater chance of dying after a hip fracture than women who didn’t sustain a break.
• Older men are eight times more likely to pass away within the first three months of sustaining a hip fracture.
• After a hip fracture, for the next 10 years, the patient, whether female or male, is at higher risk of dying.
• Men with hip fractures are more likely to die from pneumonia, sepsis, or other infections than their female counterparts.

While researchers do not know why the death rate increases when someone has a hip fracture, Dr. Cathleen Colon-Emeric explained to CNN that hip fractures cause a major strain to what was likely an already frail body. One reason that women are more susceptible to hip fractures as they grow older is that they tend to naturally lose bone after going into menopause. As for many of the men who do sustain hip fractures, they usually will have had an underlying medical condition at the time that the injury happened.

There are preventive measures that can be taken to prevent hip fractures from happening, including making sure that elderly persons get enough vitamins, calcium, exercise, as well as engage in activities that stimulate bone formation. In addition to these simple measures, nursing homes can make sure that the facility is designed in a way to minimize the risk of falling: lowered bed heights, bedrails, grab bars, elevated toilet seats, and hallway handrails are some effective tools. Also, nursing home workers can:

• Assist the patients who need physical help when getting around.
• Closely supervising residents who are fall risks.
• If a fall accident happens, giving a patient a hip pad can prevent hip fractures.
• Monitor patients who are heavily sedated or under medication that disorients them.

Unfortunately, North Carolina falls accidents involving the elderly do happen.

You may have grounds for filing a Charlotte, North Carolina nursing home neglect case.

Hip fractures more deadly to men, Paging Dr. Gupta Blog/CNN, March 15, 2010

Falls in Nursing Homes, CDC

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

Medicare, US Department of Health and Human Services

Annals of Internal Medicine

NASCAR Driver Jeremy Mayfield Files North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against His Stepmother

September 8, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, Jeremy Mayfield, the suspended NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, is suing Lisa Mayfield, his stepmother, over his father’s wrongful death. Terry Mayfield passed away on September 5, 2007. Police and the medical examiner say that he committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest.

His son, however, disagrees. Jeremy Mayfield’s Rowan County, North Carolina wrongful death complaint contends that Lisa Mayfield’s “intentional acts” caused his father’s death.

Jeremy Mayfield says his father confronted his wife about an affair he believed she was having and asked her to leave. Several days after Terry Mayfield died, Jeremy contends that the Lisa’s lover ended his relationship with his girlfriend and went to live with Lisa. Jeremy’s North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit also accuses his stepmother of spending a loan that was supposed to go toward constructing a barn.

Lisa Mayfield maintains that she had nothing to do with her husband’s death. In July, she filed her civil lawsuit alleging defamation against Jeremy in Iredell County civil court.

Wrongful Death
Even if the person or party that you believe is responsible for your loved one’s death is not charged in criminal court, you may be able to file a North Carolina wrongful death case for your loss and associated damages.

Suing someone for wrongful death won’t bring the deceased back, but it can give you some peace to know that the liable party was held accountable for their actions.

Some grounds for filing a Wrongful Death Complaint if your family member dies as a result:

• Medical malpractice
• Premises liability
• Products liability
• Nursing home abuse
• Nursing home neglect
• Car accidents
• Truck crashes
• Pedestrian accidents
• Motorcycle collisions
• Bicycle accidents
• Bus crashes
• Train accidents
• Murder

Jeremy Mayfield Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Stepmother, Sporting News, September 8, 2009

Suspended driver sued by stepmother, ESPN, July 29, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Wrongful Death, Nolo

Police called to Jeremy Mayfield’s house, Al.com, August 16, 2009

Preventing North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect: State’s New Rating System is Supposed to Help Families Choose Best Assisted Living Facility

August 6, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina has unveiled a new nursing home rating system to help families decide which assisted living facility they should admit their elderly or sick loved one to. The new system uses 0 – 4 stars to rate the quality of care provided at each home.

WRAL.com says 585 out of the nearly 1,300 North Carolina nursing homes have received their ratings, which takes into account personal care, building safety, nutrition, supervision, and personal care. Dozens of North Carolina nursing homes received 3-stars. An assisted living facility can only get 4-stars if its been able to maintain a clean record for three years.

Seven of the North Carolina nursing homes received 0-star ratings. Inspectors even moved 30 residents out of one of the nursing homes and revoked its license.

You can view the nursing homes’ Star Ratings on the North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation Web site (see below).

North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Although state and federal ratings systems provide useful information to help you choose the best North Carolina nursing home for your loved one, it is also a good idea for you visit the assisted living facility so that you can personally evaluate the premises, the workers, and the services provided.

Not only do you want to make sure that your loved one gets the proper nursing care, but you also want to minimize the chances of abuse or neglect occurring. Nursing negligence can be detrimental to your family member’s well-being and can lead to:

• Bedsores
• Broken bones
• Bruises
• Emotional trauma
• Isolation or withdrawal
• Sexual injuries
• Wandering
Fall accidents
• Deteriorating health
Wrongful Death

While personally inspecting a nursing home prior to admitting your relative won’t guarantee that he or she won’t become a victim of North Carolina nursing home abuse or neglect, it can decrease the risks.

In the event that you suspect your loved one is being neglected or abused, contact our Charlotte nursing home abuse law firm immediately to explore your legal options.

State provides ratings for assisted living centers, WRAL.com, July 28, 2009

Troubles afflict adult care home, NewsObserver.com, July 16, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Star Rating Program, NC Division of Health Service Regulation

Nursing Home Compare, Medicare.gov

North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Accuses Harnett County Nursing Home of Negligence After 85-Year-Old Wanders Away and Falls into Ravine

June 29, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

The daughter of Carrie “Christine” Evans is suing a North Carolina nursing home for her mother’s wrongful death. Serita Cheryl Evans is accusing Millicent Boutchway Shylon, the owner of Primrose Retirement Villa IV, of nursing home negligence leading to Carrie Evans’s fatal fall accident earlier this year.

According to the North Carolina wrongful death complaint, the 85-year-old, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and hypertension, wandered away from the facility, fell into a ravine, and died from the head injury she sustained when she fell.

The civil lawsuit contends that the Angier nursing home workers knew that the 85-year-old was at risk for wandering yet did not do anything to prevent her elopement. Not only did Evans’s nursing care plan note that she could become disoriented and forgetful, but it also indicated that she was physically fit enough to walk at a fast pace for long distances without help. Evans also had a history of leaving the facility without help on several occasions. Despite having this information, the North Carolina nursing home did not make sure that she was constantly supervised.

The complaint claims that on February 1, the night the elderly resident wandered off, no one was available to give her the medication she needed for her nerves and sleep deprivation issues. Also, the security system used to prevent patients from wandering was not working. The system had not been inspected since 2005.

After Evans died, the Harnett County Department of Social Services fined the Angier nursing home for a number of safety violations, including failure to properly supervise residents so that they are protected from serious injury and not correcting certain care quality issues that the state of North Carolina had been asking the nursing home to fix for some time now. Inadequate training has also been an issue, say inspectors.

The state has inspected Primrose Retirement Villa IV 28 times in the past two years. Usually, it is standard for the state to investigate a North Carolina nursing home no more than four times a year.

Serita Cheryl Evans is seeking at least $10,000 from the Harnett County assisted living facility.

Daughter Of Resident Who Fell To Her Death Sues, DunnDailyRecord, June 15, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Nursing Home Compare, Medicare.gov

Harnett County Department of Social Services, Harnett County

Why Do Wandering Management Systems in Nursing Homes Fail?, EzineArticles.com,

The Law Offices of Michael A DeMayo LLP, A North Carolina Personal Injury Law Firm, Supports the Fight Against Drunk Driving and Helps to Build Habitat for Humanity Homes

May 19, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

This month, The Law Offices of Michael A DeMayo participated in two community service events. The first event was Walk Like MADD, which is hosted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Michael A DeMayo served as the honorary chair for the annual 5k walk, which took place on May 2. Proceeds from the walk will go toward helping drunk driving victims and fund programs to prevent underage drinking and drunk driving.

Over two dozen of the North Carolina injury law firm’s employees and their families took part in the event. Together, they helped raise over $2,500. Attorney DeMayo and his staff are familiar with the struggles that drunk driving accident victims and their families face. He and his law firm represent North Carolina and South Carolina clients that have been injured and those whose loved ones have died in drunk driving accidents in their pursuit to recover personal injury or wrongful death compensation from all negligent parties. Just last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that both states experienced the largest spike in DUI fatalities among all US states between 2006 and 2007.

This past Saturday, employees from the Charlotte branch of the Law Offices of Michael A DeMayo participated in another event, this one at a Habitat for Humanity house. They pulled up their sleeves and spent the morning hanging dry wall at the home, which is being built for a low-income family. The North Carolina personal injury law firm, which also has law offices in Monroe and Hickory, made a $15,000 donation to this worthwhile cause.

Attorney DeMayo praised Habitat for Humanity for helping so many people in the Charlotte community that are in need of affordable housing. He also touted the benefits that his employees reaped by volunteering for this “great, team building” experience.

The Law Offices of Michael A DeMayo, LLP also helps clients with injury or wrongful death cases involving medical malpractice, nursing home abuse or neglect, defective medical devices, products liability, dog bites, and workers’ compensation.

Related Web Resources:
Walk Like MADD, Charlotte, NC

Habitat for Humanity, Charlotte

NHTSA Ranks North Carolina and South Carolina as Two US States With Greatest Increase In DUI Deaths, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 2, 2008

North Carolina Nursing Home Rampage Leaves Seven Patients and One Nurse Dead and A Visitor and Police Officer with Injuries

March 31, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Carthage, North Carolina, seven nursing home residents are dead following a mass shooting at the Pinelake Health and Rehab Center. According to police, an armed man entered the long-term care facility and began shooting at people.

The suspect, Robert Stewart, is the estranged husband of a nursing assistant who works at the North Carolina nursing home, and police believe he may have been targeting her. The alleged gunman was reportedly armed with several weapons when he entered the long-term care facility and began firing at people.

The victims that died were Jessie Musser, 88, Lillian Dunn, 89, Tessie Garner, 88, Louise Decker, 98, Margaret Johnson, 89, John Goldston, 78, Bessie Hendrick, 78, and registered nurse Jerry Avant, 38. The three people who were injured, including a nursing home visitor and a police officer, are expected to survive.

The shooting rampage stopped after Officer Joseph Garner entered the Carthage nursing home alone and shot Stewart in the upper torso area. Stewart, who is in police custody, has yet to issue a statement. He faces multiple counts of first-degree murder and a felony charge of assaulting a police officer.

The Carthage, North Carolina nursing home care facility had received a five-star rating from Medicaid officials.

Nursing Home Security
In addition to providing nursing home residents with the proper care, North Carolina long-term care facilities must ensure that the proper supervisory and security measures are in place so that none of its patients, nursing workers, or visitors are harmed. This means making sure that dangerous or unauthorized individuals cannot indiscriminately enter the home, as well implementing systems and procedures so that nursing home residents who need specialized supervision cannot leave the premises without permission or a companion.

Inadequate security and failure to provide the proper supervisory and safety measures at a North Carolina nursing home can be grounds for a nursing home neglect lawsuit or wrongful death case if someone gets hurt or dies.

Alleged gunman’s wife worked at nursing home, police say, CNN.com, March 30, 2009

Marital discord suspected as motive in North Carolina nursing home rampage, Kansas City.com, March 30, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Inadequate Security News, Justia

119 North Carolina Nursing Homes Receive 1-Star Rating, Says Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

December 22, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), out of the 419 North Carolina nursing homes that are Medicare and/or Medicaid certified, 119 of them received 1-star ratings for the quality of care they provide residents. 68 North Carolina nursing homes were awarded 2-stars. Members of the public can visit the Medicare Web site for more information about each nursing home to help them more easily evaluate the kind of care residents are likely to receive at a nursing home.

Under the federal consumer rating system, patient bedsores, failure to relieve patient pain, significant staff turnover, urinary tract infections, lost mobility, long-term catheter use, and excessive use of restraints were some of the factors taken into consideration when determining how many stars each nursing home should receive. This new system, which rates some 16,000 US nursing homes, will hopefully prevent residents from getting into a home where they may become the victims of nursing home abuse or neglect, as well as discourage such negligent conduct from occuring.

In order to receive a five-star rating, a member of the nursing home’s staff had to provide residents with at least four hours of patient care each day. 57 North Carolina nursing homes received 5-star ratings. Out of 175 South Carolina nursing homes, 46 received 1-star ratings and 24 received 5-star ratings.

Critics of this new system say CMS should try to work with nursing homes to fix any problems before giving them low ratings. Jeff Horton, the head of the North Carolina Division of Health Services Regulation, says that while the ratings system can provide useful information, it is also important that potential residents and family members visit a North Carolina nursing home before making a decision.

What to Look for When Visiting a North Carolina or South Carolina Nursing Home:

• Note whether the location is convenient enough so that you or another family member can pay regular visits.
• Look at the staffing schedule and inquire about the caregiver – resident ratio.
• Check the nursing home for cleanliness. Note whether you can smell urine or feces and if the bathroom is clean.
• Ask about the availability of hot water.
• See whether residents and nursing home workers appear to engage with each other and notice how much attention the patients receive when it comes to grooming, medical attention, feeding time, and other activities that may require supervision.
• Inspect the kitchen for cleanliness.
• Find out about quality of food and how much attention is paid to each resident’s particular diet.
• Check out inspection reports to note whether the nursing home has a previous history of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Nursing homes in state rated low, News and Observer, December 18, 2008

Choosing a Nursing Home, AARP, January 2007

Related Web Resources:
Nursing Home Compare, Medicare

Nursing Homes, North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

North Carolina Inspectors Say Patient Abuse and Neglect Make Butner Mental Hospital Unsafe

December 3, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina mental hospital in Butner is considered unsafe for patients. North Carolina inspectors who had evaluated the conditions and quality of care at Central Regional Hospital say their findings show an “immediate jeopardy” identification. This means that the hospital’s patients could be in imminent danger if the problems that were identified are not remedied. Already, the new $138 million facility has been cited with multiple violations and is in danger of losing its federal funding.

Inspectors cited the hospital staff for its failure to prevent patient abuse and neglect and failure to provide the proper care in a safe environment. A 131-page report even noted that there is video footage showing workers falsifying records to indicate that they had closely monitored a patient with schizophrenia when this, in fact, was not the case.

The inspectors also criticized the mental hospital for improperly restraining an 8-year-old for two hours. Another problem noted at Central Regional Hospital was that a stairwell door at the home could not be unlocked from the inside, which could potentially trap hospital staffers and patients in the facility during an emergency.

Federal regulators say the hospital has until December 14 to correct all violations. The state of North Carolina had hoped to transfer patients at a Raleigh hospital it was planning to shut down to the Butner facility. Now, these plans will likely have to be modified.

In a little over 12 months, four of North Carolina’s state-run mental hospitals have either lost or have been on the verge of losing their accreditation because of patient abuse and neglect incidents, as well as patient deaths. This summer, a fifth North Carolina mental facility was shut down after workers strapped down a female patient and beat her.

There is no excuse for patient abuse or neglect, whether at a hospital, a nursing home, in the sick person’s home, or anywhere else. If you believe that your loved one is the victim of patient abuse or neglect, it is important that you take steps to remove them from the unsafe environment immediately. Failure to provide the proper patient care at a hospital could be grounds for a North Carolina medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit.

Mental hospital deemed unsafe, News & Observer, December 3, 2008

Central Regional another signal of troubled system, WRAL.com, December 3, 2008

Related Web Resources:
CMS Report 1 (PDF)

CMS Report 2 (PDF)

3 North Carolina Hospital Workers Fired for Neglect of Mental Patient Who Was Left in Chair Without Being Fed For Nearly 24 Hours

November 20, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, officials have fired three workers at the Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro over the death of a 50-year-old mental patient. Roanoke Rapids resident Steven H. Sabock’s death made the headlines earlier this year because of surveillance footage showing hospital workers neglecting him for almost 24 hours while he sat slumped in a chair.

According to a report filed by the hospital’s nursing director, workers checked his vitals during this time period. However, the video does not show this happening. Instead, hospital workers are seen watching TV and playing cards. Sabock, who was suffering from a bipolar disorder, was also seen falling and striking his head. He also choked on his medication.

The surveillance footage also shows Sabock being taken away by paramedics. He died soon after. According to the North Carolina medical examiner’s office, Sabock’s cause of death was a pre-existing heart condition. Autopsy reports,however, indicate that there was fluid in his brain, which could be a sign of a brain injury. A federal report also states that the 50-year-old patient appeared to not have eaten much food in the three days leading up to his death.

Following Sabock’s death, a number of Cherry Hospital workers were disciplined over the incident, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services closed the ward.

Medicaid and Medicare withdrew $800,000 a month in reimbursements from the North Carolina hospital. In August, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation began a criminal probe into Sabock’s death.

This is not the only reported incident of abuse or neglect this year at Cherry Hospital. In August, two of its hospital workers were arrested for allegedly beating a patient. Earlier in the year, three other employees were also arrested and charged with assault crimes.

Unfortunately, patient abuse or neglect by hospital staffers and nursing home workers happens way too often in the United States. It is the hospital patients and nursing home residents who suffer when abuse or neglect leads to personal injury, deteriorating health, or wrongful death.

Three Employees Fired After Patient Chokes on Medicine, Dies, Foxnews.com, November 20, 2008

Patient appears neglected in hours before his death, WRAL.com, November 18, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Cherry Hospital

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Charlotte Adult Care Center Will Close Today Following Reports of Drug Use and Violence

October 3, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is forcing Charlotte Manor, an adult care center, to shut down today, following reports of violence, drug abuse, and neglect. State health officials have suspended the home’s operating license, and today residents must evacuate the premise by 5pm. North Carolina health officials have said the move is to protect the home’s residents, who are in “imminent danger.”

State health officials conducted its yearly inspection of the home last month, and Charlotte Manor was cited for violations regarding:

• Personal care
• Health care
• Supervision
• Residents’ rights
• Housekeeping
• Furnishings
• CPR Training
• Resident discharge

Charlotte Manor not only houses frail and older residents, but people under 50 can also reside there. Some of its residents have criminal records or have abused drugs. According to one resident, some residents were discovered smoking crack at the home. Another resident reports that violent acts have taken place at the home, including two men getting into a physical altercation and another incident, in which the tires on a motor vehicle were deflated.

Details of this year’s inspection have yet to be released, but previous inspection reports of the home over the last two years indicate recurring problems with properly feeding and providing medication to residents with health issues. Maintenance issues are not always dealt with in a timely manner. Also, over a dozen people have to share a couple of common bathroom facilities, rather than having one bathroom for two to four residents.

Nursing homes and other care facilities are supposed to provide residents with the proper care, while making sure that they are safe from abuse, neglect, or harm by workers and other residents. When failure to fulfill these duties of care leads to injuries or death, a care facility can be held liable through a nursing home abuse and/or neglect claim or a premises liability lawsuit.

Violence and drug abuse reported at care center, Charlotte Observer, October 3, 2008

State Office Shuts Down Home for Adult Care: Officials Cite ?Imminent Danger’ at Charlotte Manor, and Residents Must Leave By Late Friday., IStockAnalyst, October 2, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Notice of Suspension (PDF)

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services

Cherry Hospital Employees Arrested for Allegedly Beating a Patient in Goldsboro, North Carolina

August 25, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina continues to make headlines, following the arrest of two of its workers on Friday for allegedly beating a patient.

Health care technicians William Kenneth Johnson and Taniko Dominique Upton face charges of assault and battery of a handicapped person. Uton allegedly struck a male patient in the stomach, head, and side, as well as knocked him to the ground. Johnson is accused of holding down the patient during Upton’s assault before joining in the beating, which took place at the mental hospital.

Three other Cherry Hospital workers have recently been arrested. In March, Vincent Morton was charged with felony assault and battery of a handicapped person after he allegedly put his hands around a patient’s neck before hitting him on the head.

Richard John Percival II was arrested on a misdemeanor charge after hitting a patient’s head and body. The charge was dropped when the patient refused to testify against Percival.

Tonivia Bryant was charged with felony assault of a handicapped person after she allegedly hit a patient, who was strapped down, 11 times. The charges against her were also dropped.

Cherry Hospital has come under close scrutiny following video footage showing workers at the mental hospital ignoring a patient seated on a chair for over 22 hours. The patient, 50-year-old Steven Sabock, died soon after.

If you or your loved one was the victim of abuse at a nursing home, a mental hospital, or another care or medical facility in North Carolina, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the facility and/or the abusers. Hospitals and residential care facilities are supposed to make sure that their employees are properly trained to care for their patients or residents and that staff members will not likely harm or neglect the people placed in their care. An experienced North Carolina personal injury law firm can investigate your case for you and determine whether you have grounds to file a nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, or another kind of injury case.

Two workers accused of beating mental patient, Charlotte.com, August 23, 2008

Cherry Hospital workers accused of beating patient, WRAL.com, August 23, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Cherry Hospital

Patient Bill of RIghts, DukeHealth.org

North Carolina Says Care Facility’s Failure To Properly Supervise 10-Year-Old Autistic Boy Led To Drowning Death

February 14, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina Officials say that the RHA Howell Center-Clear Creek failed to properly supervise 10-year-old Brandon Parrish Johnson, an autistic boy that they had been warned would run off if he was not closely watched by staffers.

On January 27, Brandon did just that and drowned. According to the state report, Brandon, a resident at the facility, was being moved 100 feet from the main building to the chapel, which has an exit door that leads to the parking lot.

Upon entering the chapel with a staffer, Brandon was instructed to remove his coat. The staffer that took Brandon to the chapel handed supervision of the boy over to another staffer.

A supervisor then told the staffers in the chapel to take their charges to the classrooms. About 20 minutes after giving this direction, the supervisor realized that Brandon was not in the classroom. The staffer also did not know where Brandon had gone.

Staffers searched the premise and surveillance tapes. One video tape recorded Brandon leaving the chapel exit and running through the parking lot to chase a small animal. He was found unconscious in a small pond. Care facility members were unable to revive the boy.

The state’s report says that RHA Howell Center-Clear Creek did not have procedures to allow staffers to properly supervise all residents as they were being moved around to the center’s different areas. The report called this failure “institutional negligence.” The report also noted that staffers had been aware that Brandon was considered a runner and required ongoing, close supervision—especially when he is being transported from one area to another.

Since the accident, the care center now reportedly keeps runners away from exit doors. North Carolina fined RHA Howell Center-Clear Creek $12,000 because it had placed the safety of residents in “immediate and serious jeopardy.” The center is in Cabarrus County and is located on the Cabarrus-Mecklenburg line.

Nursing homes and residential care facilities are supposed to provide patients with the proper and necessary care and supervision that their conditions require. When abuse or neglect occurs, and a patient is injured or dies, a care facility can be held legally liable.

Children staying at care facilities—especially those with special needs—can be especially susceptible to injuries or death if left unattended by staff members.

Our North Carolina and South Carolina personal injury law firm has successfully handled many residential care abuse and neglect cases for victims of all ages. We also represent families in cases where the neglect and abuse incidents involved injuries or the wrongful death of a minor.

Center knew boy was ‘runner‘, Charlotte.com, February 13, 2008

Related Web Resources:

State begins probe at disability facility, Charlotte.com, January 29, 2008

What is Autism, Autism Research Institute

Parents of North Carolina Man Sue Franklin County Medical Officers for Son’s Wrongly Declared Death

January 15, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In North Carolina, the parents of Larry D. Green, the man who Franklin County medical officers wrongly declared dead in January 2005, have filed a personal injury lawsuit against Franklin County’s medical examiner, Franklin County Emergency Medical Services, the emergency responders who were at Green’s pedestrian accident scene, Louisburg Rescue, and EMS.

Green, now 31, was critically injured in Louisburg in January 2005 when he was hit by a motor vehicle while walking across U.S. 401 north. He was declared dead, placed in a body bag, and sent to a morgue. It wasn’t until after his body had been at the morgue for over two hours that the coroner realized that Green was alive.

The lawsuit, filed by Green’s parents, Larry Alston and Ruby Kelly, alleges that medical officials did not properly check Green’s vital signs and that he would not have sustained permanent injuries if they had done their job correctly. Green’s mother, Ruby Kelly, says that she sustained emotional trauma after seeing the crash scene and believing that her son was dead.

Green was in the hospital for two months. Injuries included a serious head injury and leg injuries. It wasn’t until five months after the accident that he started to talk again. Green now resides in a Wilson nursing home, and he may never fully recover from his injuries.

Last month, J.B. Perdue, the Franklin County medical examiner named in the lawsuit, stated that pronouncing a person dead is not part of his job. He said his responsibilities are to investigate the cause of death.

The lawsuit says that Perdue saw Green’s eye twitching and chest moving at the morgue but did not make sure Green was dead before starting his forensic evaluation.

Green’s family is accusing emergency medical technicians and paramedics of not following policy in their handling of Green. Medics admit that they did not use a stethoscope or electrocardiogram monitor to make sure that Green was dead after failing to detect a pulse or breath.

If you or someone you love was injured because of medical malpractice or negligence, you must contact a personal injury lawyer immediately.

Death blunder draws lawsuit, The News & Observer.com, December 28, 2007

Family Of North Carolina Man Mistakenly Declared Dead Files Suit, All Headlines, December 28, 2007

After body bag, life goes on, The News & Observer.com, January 24, 2007

Related Web Resource:

No further state action warranted against Franklin County EMS personnel, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, February 9, 2005

North Carolina Workers at Butner Mental Hospital Accused of Beating Patient

December 26, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Three workers at John Umstead Hospital in North Carolina are accused of beating a 51-year-old patient who staying at the state mental hospital while she was strapped to her bed. She was reportedly hit in the head because she attacked a clerk.

A health care technician at the hospital reports hearing noises from a room that sounded like someone was being struck. After her assault, a technician walked out of the “quiet room” where the beating took place and turned off the video monitor that showed the patient in the room.

One technician who took part in the assault on the patient complained that her knuckles were red and swollen from having to subdue the woman during the attack on the clerk.

Another 39-year-old patient reportedly punched, choked, and chased staff members and patients repeatedly before staff members decided to start monitoring her full-time. When the monitors weren’t around, the patient continued to attack other patients. Staff members were not wearing the body alarms that the hospital requires that they use.

Investigators are citing lack of proper leadership and qualified staff as two reasons that the abuse incidents were able to take place. They are recommending that the hospital lose its federal funding because it failed to prevent the violence. Federal funding makes up 25% of the hospital’s yearly budget.

Other incidents of abuse or neglect at the hospital include:

• Staff neglecting to observe a patient’s blood-sugar levels and administer insulin.
• A restrained patient who should have been observed at all times was able to free one of her arms and wrap her gown around her neck.

Unfortunately, there are already too many incidents of abuse and neglect that occur at nursing homes and other care facilities. Common types of abuse at a care facility include:

• Physical assault
• Sexual assault
• Rape
• Depriving the patient of food or water
• Excessive use physical restraints
• Excessive use of medication or chemical restraint or electric shock beyond what is prescribed by a doctor
• Slapping, shaking, or pushing the patient
• Imprisoning a patient
• Emotional abuse
• Mental abuse
• Verbal abuse

Hospital workers beat N.C. patient, Charlotte.com, December 13, 2007

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse: Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Related Web Resource:

John Umstead Hospital – Butner,NC, Hospital-Data.com

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North Carolina Care Operator Still Runs Jacksonville Facility Despite Wrongful Death Verdicts

December 3, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Ron Burrell, the North Carolina care operator who has been ordered to pay some $5 million to two families whose loved ones died because of negligence at two of his facilities, still owns and operates the Alzheimer’s Related Care facility in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

The Alzheimer’s Related Care facility specializes in taking care of patients with dementia. The state of North Carolina, however, temporarily suspended admissions to the facility because of violations. The suspension followed a complaint by one of the residents that she had been raped and did not receive a medical exam until 68 days after the attack. Police were not notified that a sexual assault had occurred.

Burrell used to run some two dozen disabled and elder care facilities. A number of these homes been cited for numerous violations while under his supervision..

In 2003, a Meadows of Aberdeene resident died after going out drinking with another care facility patient. The patient stabbed him to death. A Rowan County home patient died in 2001 after not receiving the proper medication dosage.

Burrell, his partner Michael Elliott, and eight affiliated companies lost a $4 million wrongful death judgment in August. The lawsuit claimed that 85-year-old Eula Abernathy died because she was burned by hot bath water. The facility had been warned before the incident that the water heaters were set at temperatures that made the water too hot.

On November 7, a wrongful death verdict was issued that ordered Burrell to pay the family of 53-year-old Troy Stephens $836,075. Stevens, who was mentally challenged, wandered away from the Meadows of Garner home where he lived and drowned in a pond. Stevens’ family had warned the assisted-living staff that he had a tendency to wander.

Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence
If someone you love has been injured due to abuse or negligence at a nursing home residence or an elder care facility in South Carolina or North Carolina, you should speak to an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer immediately.

Your nursing home neglect attorney can help you explore the legal options available to your loved one, who may be eligible for nursing home abuse or neglect compensation.

Some Possible Signs of residential care abuse include:

• Unexplained bruises
• Sudden weight gain
• Sudden weight loss
• Dehydration
• Bedsores
• Cuts or welts
• Emotional withdrawal

Care home owner still in business despite findings, Charlotte.com, December 2, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, Nursing Home Alert

Deadly Neglect, Reader’s Digest, December 2006

19-Year-old North Carolina Teen Dies in DWI Car Accident And Adults Are Charged With Serving Alcohol to Minors at a Party

August 28, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Four adults in North Carolina have been charged in the deadly DWI accidental death of 19-year-old Emily Mosely on August 17. Terry Moseley, one of the adults charged, is Emily’s father. He is charged with three counts of giving alcoholic beverages to a minor.

According to North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement agents, Terry Mosely purchased alcohol at an ABC store in Greensboro. He then brought the alcohol to a party that was hosted by Sandra McBride, Stephen Dale McBride, and their 21-year-old son Stephen Lee McBride in Walnut Cove. All three of them are also charged with providing alcohol to teenagers.

Emily, her 18-year-old ex-boyfriend Richard Oakley, and her 16-year-old sister drank alcohol that night. Oakley says that that everyone at the party had been drinking. The prescription drug Xanax was also somehow involved.

Oakley lost control of his car near Stokesdale while driving Emily and her sister from the party. The car fell into an embankment on Lauren Road. Oakley and Emily’s sister were not seriously hurt in the car accident, but Emily was thrown out of the motor vehicle and died. Oakley has been charged with reckless driving and DWI (driving while impaired).

Terry Mosely, Stephen Lee McBride, Sandra McBride, and Stephen Dale McBride say they did not serve alcohol at the party.

Wrongful Death
When a person dies because another party acted negligently, the family members of the deceased may be able receive compensation through a wrongful death claim or lawsuit filed against the responsible parties. In North Carolina, surviving family members can recover compensation for a number of damages, including funeral/cremation/burial costs, medical costs related to the treatment of the injuries that led to the wrongful death, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and loss of financial support.

The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in North Carolina is two years, and there may be more than one party that can be held liable for your loved one’s death—whether the negligent person(s) acted directly or indirectly to cause the deadly accident.

Deadly accidents also resulting from medical malpractice, dangerous or defective products, nursing home abuse, and unsafe premises can often lead to wrongful death claims and lawsuits against the responsible parties.

Adults Charged in Fatal DWI Accident, My Fox WGHP, August 27, 2007

Related Web Resources:

DWI, NCSU.edu

Wrongful Death Overview, Justia.com

 
 

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