New Mexico Injury Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Nursing Home Neglect

A recent news report indicates that a New Mexico Corporation, Sunbridge Health Court Corp., has reached a settlement in a nursing home negligence case for $3.5 million.

If you believe a loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse, you need an experienced nursing home negligence lawyer.

The lawsuit was filed in 2009 alleging that the nursing home staff at a Seattle nursing home owned by the New Mexico corporation failed to adequately care for a patient and failed to notify the man’s family or his primary doctor of the man’s worsening condition. The man had penile cancer and failed to receive any treatment. Although nurses were initially notified of the condition, they forgot to follow up and the man subsequently lost his penis.

Unfortunately, elder abuse is more widespread than many people realize. It may take many forms including physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse.

If you believe a loved one is suffering from elder neglect or nursing home negligence, a few signs to look for include:

• Sudden changes in behavior
• Dehydration and malnutrition
• Unexplained bruises, welts or broken bones
• Worsening medical conditions
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Last month a former nursing home caretaker – Anthony Joseph Garcia was sentenced to 5 ½ years in jail for beating a man in his care. A subsequent investigation performed after the beating revealed that Garcia had a lengthy criminal record including three prior felony and rape charges.

By law, nursing homes are required to perform background checks prior to hiring caretakers. If a caretaker has been convicted of a felony, he or she is prohibited from working at a nursing home.

While it is unclear whether a pre-employment screening was conducted, Mr. Garcia slipped through the cracks. His job gave him access to the residents, where he severely beat and injured an elderly man.

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. In a recent study, over 80% of nursing homes in New Mexico violated federal health and safety standards. Almost 20% had a violation that caused actual harm to residents or placed them at risk of death or serious injury. The types of violations are widespread – from failing to perform adequate background checks on those hired, to abuse and neglect.

While many nursing homes provide a wonderful community for our elders, others may be taking advantage of or harming those most vulnerable. Signs of abuse and neglect include:

• Sudden changes in behavior
• Unexplained bruises, welts, black eyes or broken bones
• Dehydration and malnutrition
• Bed sores

With the holiday season upon us, many of us will visit loved ones in nursing homes. As New Mexico personal injury attorneys dedicated to assisting nursing home residents and their families, we believe we should use this opportunity to ensure our elders are being well cared for in their twilight years.