Lawyer Resources for Missouri

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Law Firm Representing Injured Victims at Diversicare of St. Joseph

To ensure the public remains fully informed about the level of care provided in every nursing facility in Missouri, federal and state regulators conduct surveys and investigations year-round.

The Missouri State Health Department and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) enforce regulations enacted by state legislatures and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). When egregious violations and serious safety deficiencies are identified, the nursing home is placed on notice to make corrections quickly or suffer the financial consequences.

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Poor Care in Nursing Homes Can Lead to DeathAs of November 2015, Families for Better Care, a watchdog advocate group that protects the elderly, began ranking Missouri fourth on a list of the nation’s worst states concerning nursing homes. This is in response to Missouri inspection reports showing how many statewide nursing facilities have either caused or contributed to dozens of deaths involving the elderly in the last three years.

Additionally, ProPublica, a nonprofit journalist investigative group released a troubling report outlining allegations of verbal and physical abuse, rape and neglect that were uncovered through nursing home inspections in recent years. These disturbing inspections were performed by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. The massive database details deficiencies uncovered at nursing facilities all throughout the state. The report details deficiencies by their severity that shows harmful incidences or deficiencies that tend to occur as a pattern at the facility.

Many of the lives taken at the hands of caregivers acting negligently or abusively were frail victims who tragically died prematurely. This unseen pandemic commonly goes unnoticed even by state inspectors who perform routine certification and licensure surveys, and are required to investigate incidences of neglect, mistreatment and abuse. Many of the deaths are the result of life-threatening neglect that can be directly traced back to the nursing staff whom residents rely on to receive health and hygiene care along with assistance with exercise, nutrition and hydration. Many cases of unlawful neglect and abuse go unreported or are never prosecuted.

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Morphine Overdose Kills Nursing-Home PatientOn April 20, a jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff and against a north St. Louis County nursing home after a mentally ill patient died when he received a fatal dose of morphine. The 45-year-old man had never been prescribed the opiate derivative and passed away at a hospital in 2009. Although his death was originally ruled as a heart attack, a toxicology report revealed a fatal level of morphine in his system. However, it is unknown how the patient ended up with the medication overdose.

Family Files Lawsuit Against Nursing Home

The man’s brother and nephew filed the lawsuit against the care facility. Their attorney insisted that the man was unable to leave the facility and so he must have somehow gotten the drug there or from the staff. Witnesses testified that pain medication was sometimes left out at the nurses’ station and that some patients received morphine shots. The jury awarded the plaintiffs $700,000.

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Authorities in Missouri are looking for answers regarding how and why an Alzheimer’s patient at Springfield Skilled Care Center fractured her neck.  Police were summoned the the Missouri nursing home after the staff at the facility discovered the patients dead body on the ground outside of the facility.

Alzheimer’s Patient FractureA preliminary autopsy demonstrated that the patient suffered from a fractured neck that apparently happened as the woman was wrangling her way through a window to the outdoors.

As inspectors examine the circumstances surrounding this incident, news reports verify that Springfield Skilled Care Center has had troubles in the past.  With a one out of five star health inspection rating, Springfield has had troubles relating to its ‘special care unit’ for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia when doors wouldn’t open after fire alarms were activated.

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