Falls and Fractures

DATELINE TARRYTOWN, NY  "It was supposed to be a safe nursing home, wasn't it? I never expected this when we selected the home." Deborah was speaking to Sofia as they shopped in a Queens gift store.

They had just received a phone call from a trusted physician.

"How about this nice sweater? He's been complaining about chills, you know?" Deborah held up a small man's black sweater. "This will probably fit now."

Deborah and Sofia were legal guardians for Santiago Alvarez, a 79-year old nursing home resident.

"Sure, that's a good choice." Sofia paused. "What I've been asking myself is how this could have happened in a place like that. I mean, look at the medical history. In December of last year, there was a head laceration. A couple weeks later, Santiago was treated for a cut elbow and swelling on most of his left arm. And then this. . ."

Sofia put on her reading glasses. "'On April 9, Mr. Alvarez was admitted to St. Timothy's Memorial Hospital with -- get this – a diffuse traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage, a skull fracture, orbital fracture, and a rib fracture.'"

"Unbelievable," Deborah said. "I feel so sorry for Santiago."

Sofia removed her glasses.

"I'm sorry, too. They'll have to answer for this in court. Three falls like this . . . it's indefensible."


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What happened to Mr. Alvarez in this scenario is not uncommon. Instead nursing home abuse often manifests itself in unexplained fractures that can ultimately be traced to falls. Causes for these falls requires investigation, a study of medical records, and plenty of question-asking. A nursing home should be a safe place for patients, but sadly patients can be at risk of falls for many reasons.

If your loved one has suffered a fracture while under the care of a nursing home, you and your loved one may have legal recourse.

How will you know whether your loved one’s fracture was caused by negligent care? Often the first indication comes from an unexplained, sudden visit to the emergency room. Ask questions. What caused the fracture? Was there a fall? Where did this happen? In the scenario we have presented here, Santiago, Deborah and Sofia's family friend, may have needed to go to the bathroom and nobody answered a call for help. Or he may have been so medicated he could not walk properly. Or, he may have fallen out of bed or a wheelchair because the nursing home was not monitoring him properly.

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Dalli & Marino is familiar with major nursing homes in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. To be successful, a nursing home abuse law firm must be aware of local practices, judges and malpractice history for specific nursing homes.

To be successful at trial -- to be persuasively successful -- a firm must be experienced in the particulars of nursing home operations and applicable state law.

Evidence Gathering

Gathering evidence in today's environment requires a clear understanding of the rules, plus the possible role of electronic medical records and expert witnesses.