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Queens New York Legal Blog

Why is nutrition so important to the elderly?

Malnutrition typically is not something that you would think is major problem in New York City (not with popular media in recent years consistently sharing messages about America's obesity epidemic). Yet there is a segment of the population that is particularly prone to malnutrition: the elderly. Helping your loved one maintain a healthy diet can be quite difficult given his or her special nutritional needs. It is mainly for this reason why many entrust the care of their elderly family members and friends to nursing homes. Unfortunately, cases of nutritional neglect occur in such facilities, with caregivers either intentionally withholding food from residents or neglecting to see if they are eating. Yet why is nutrition so important for the elderly? 

The affects that aging can have on the body are well-known (you may even be recognizing them with your elderly loved one). They include: 

  • Pathological weight loss
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Loss of muscle mass and coordination 
  • Immune deficiencies 

Examining emergency surgeries

For many in Queens, the prospect of having to undergo a scheduled surgery can seem quite daunting given the fact that even with time to prepare, surgeons can still commit errors during a procedure. One can imagine how much the potential for error may go up for procedures that are not scheduled. Information shared by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that while emergency surgeries account for roughly half of the general surgery workload in America, they produce between 80-90 percent of all surgery related deaths. It may be assumed that surgeries that allow for little planning and preparation might produce more errors, yet could there be other reasons why emergency surgical procedures so often produce fatal results? 

Some might argue that it is due to the fact that those requiring emergency surgery tend to be the sickest patients. Indeed, very rarely might one see a patient being seen for minor discomfort needing to be rushed into emergency surgery. Given the increased risk that a patient faces from having a surgical procedure (of any kind) doctors may often only result to surgical intervention as a last resort. Thus, those who need emergency surgery are likely already experiencing serious health complications. 

Providers refuse to admit to wrongdoing in lawsuit settlement

Those in Queens that are planning on bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit against providers that they believe were negligent in their delivery of care may be in for a long legal battle. Doctors, hospitals and healthcare organizations rely on their reputations, which is why it may seem to some that they are unwilling to admit when they make mistakes. Plus, such parties typically have the knowledge and resources to argue their points out for as long they think they need to. However, this should not deter those who allegedly suffered at their hands from trying to hold them responsible. 

A Massachusetts couple whose daughter suffered a serious birth injury may serve as the latest example of malpractice victims standing up to claims made by clinicians. The two providers named in their medical malpractice lawsuit (a third defendant, the organization operating the hospital where their baby was delivered, was eventually dropped from the case) maintained they did nothing to cause the oxygen deprivation and subsequent brain damage that the couple's daughter experienced. A settlement was eventually reached in the case and recently approved by a local judge. However, even in settling the case, the defendants did not admit to any wrongdoing. 

Single provider shoulders bulk of $2.65 million settlement

When charges of medical malpractice are made by people in New York City, there may often be confusion surrounding who they should be leveled against. Some may point to the inappropriate actions of the doctors involved as the reason behind a patient's complaint. Others may say it was negligence on the part of a facility's staff that caused the harm in question. In any event, it is not uncommon to see multiple parties, including doctors, hospitals, medical provider groups and healthcare organizations named as defendants in a malpractice lawsuit. Yet simply being named in a suit does not necessarily mean one may be assigned liability. 

This fact was on full display in the settlement of a lawsuit filed on behalf of a deceased Connecticut man. The attorney representing the man's family said that he was given a blood thinner medication after displaying signs of stroke while having an endoscopy performed to remove a piece of chicken stuck in his throat. However, the man was already taking two other blood thinners, which caused him to develop a brain bleed that later killed him. 

Family claims woman dies after nurse ignored her lab results

One who has been fortunate enough not to have to go an ER in Queens might only have the high-pressure images shared by TV shows to form an opinion on what such an environment is like. While popular media depictions are often dramatized, real world emergency departments can be quite hectic. The providers working in them may often feel pressured to diagnose and discharge people rapidly in order to accommodate heavy patient volumes. While some may be able to understand this to a certain extent, the need to provide quality care should always take priority over rapid treatment. When it does not, the results can be disastrous for patients. 

A family in Minnesota was forced to experience this firsthand after they lost their mother to sepsis. The woman had been discharged just days earlier after having given birth to a baby son. She later returned to the hospital's ER complaining of fever and nausea. The family claims that labs taken in the emergency department confirmed that she indeed was suffering from sepsis, but that an emergency nurse ignored them and instead sent her home. She died just hours later. 

What if you are harmed at a teaching hospital?

Whenever you enter any of the hospitals in New York City, you bring with you the expectation that those treating you are highly trained and experienced. Yet how much would your outlook change if you knew that the provider taking care of you was a medical student? Throughout the country, countless healthcare facilities are affiliated with medical schools to help train the doctors of tomorrow. While it is widely understood that medical students and residents need real world experience in order to develop their skills, you might wonder if the hospitals where they learn produce more patient care errors? 

According to Kaiser Health News, the answer to that question is yes. In fact, it reports that major teaching hospitals are 10 times more likely to report high rates of serious patient complications. Issues of medical malpractice typically come down to a question of whether or not the standard of care was met. The standard of care is a legal concept which establishes what should be expected from a professional practicing in a certain profession. With medical students, who are still learning their craft, some question what standard they should be held to. 

3 mistakes to avoid when purchasing a home

If you are getting ready to buy a home in the Queens County area, you should do more than look for houses that meet your criteria. As much as you enjoy the thought of owning your place and not having to pay rent anymore, there are some factors that can trip you up during the buying process. 

Two of the most important aspects of real estate transactions are making an offer and negotiating the contract. By reviewing the following mistakes that buyers often make, you can avoid them yourself. 

What is a long-term care ombudsman?

Nursing homes in New York have a program for ensuring that your loved one is safe and happy, and enjoying his or her highest possible quality of life. This is the New York State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, and it is mandated by the Federal Older Americans Act. 

One of the first steps to protecting your loved one's rights is understanding what they are. The ombudsman for your facility promotes family councils to educate you about these and to provide you with the opportunity to communicate with others about the quality of care in the nursing home. He or she supports the development of resident councils, as well. 

Unnecessary restraint use is nursing home abuse

When an elderly person has physical ailments that make it dangerous to live alone, these health issues could indicate a need for the assistance provided in a New York nursing home. While some people may shy away from this move for as long as possible, Medicare.gov points out that a resident has many protected freedoms to ensure that quality of life does not suffer. One of those freedoms specifically noted is the freedom from restraints.

Some people may need physical restraints to prevent them from falling out of bed, or from a chair or wheelchair. It is legal for staff to use a restraint as far as is necessary for a resident's protection and/or treatment. However, losing the freedom to move about can cause serious distress, and residents have the right to refuse them if there is no chance that they will hurt themselves or someone else. Staff must not ever use a restraint to make it more convenient to care for a patient, or as punishment.

Midwife's past revealed to be littered with patient complaints

Alternative birthing methods have become increasingly popular in recent years both in New York City and throughout the rest of the U.S. In many cases, couples opt to go with midwives to handle these deliveries as opposed to a doctor. These specialty providers will often deliver babies in hospitals, private clinics or even in people's homes. They are trained specifically in birthing techniques and, while they are required to be licensed, may not be subject to the same standards and scrutiny that traditional providers are. Sadly, when complications do occur in the pregnancies they manage, the outcomes can often be devastating to both mothers and babies. 

A recent lawsuit filed by a family in Washington has revealed a history of such catastrophic results linked to an area midwife. The woman is reported to have been the subject of as many as 22 complaints filed by patients. These include cases of her overstepping her authority as a midwife in prescribing a patient medication and even representing herself as a physician. She has also been investigated for two cases involving patients who experienced severe postpartum complications, one of whom died as a result. Records show that she has been instructed by officials to take numerous corrective actions over the years, yet her compliance to those requirements has reportedly been poor. The most recent action taken against her was by a family whose baby died after being instructed by the woman that the mother's delivery was progressing normally. Despite the many cases against her, the woman continues to practice. 

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