Lawyer Resources for New Mexico

Nursing Home Abuse and New MexicoTo many times, violence happens to the people who deserve it the least. Nursing home residents suffer an astonishingly high level of abuse in several different forms: physical, mental, emotional, sexual, and financial to name a few.

Who abuses them? Normally, it is the people closest to them including other residents, nursing home staff, or various third parties.

To show you the problem of nursing home abuse in more detail, we listed some summaries of typical New Mexico verdicts and settlements below:

Attorneys Representing Injured Casa Real Nursing Facility Residents

The state of New Mexico and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) routinely conduct scheduled visits and unannounced inspections of nursing homes throughout the state. Through surveys and investigations, these surveyors and inspectors identify violations of nursing home regulations that must be immediately addressed by the facility to ensure that the health and well-being of the resident is maintained.

In some cases, the violations are so severe that they cause harm or could cause harm to the resident. When this occurs, the investigators and surveyors have the legal responsibility to issue a fine to the facility or designate the nursing home as a Special Focus Facility (SFF) and placed on the Medicare watchlist.

staffingIf you were to look at just one criteria for selecting a nursing home, I’d tell you to look at the facilities staffing levels.  Sure, its nice to have a sparkly new facility and perhaps a gourmet chef, but when it comes down to patient care nothing can take the place of a sufficiently staffed facility with properly trained men and women.

In order to assure that nursing home patients are adequately cared for, some states such as California have legislated minimum hours of care provided to patients on a daily basis.  While the number is of course somewhat arbitrary and varies substantially from patient to patient, the patient care requirements do provide somewhat of a floor with respect to minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes.

In other words, the minimum daily time requirements really translate to the number of staff nursing home owners must hire to legally operate their facilities.

iStock_000003443960XSmallYesterday, we discussed the nursing-home-name-game, how large nursing home chains attempt to shield themselves from liability by creating a complex array of subsidiary companies and messy corporate structures.

Today, we are seeing the fall-out created by this complicated game of corporate re-organization– how despite that fact that a large corporation makes decisions with respect to operation of a facility, and even derives profits from the facility, it can evade responsibility by re-arranging its corporate structure.

In 2007, a New Mexico jury rendered a large verdict ($53 million) against ManorCare after they heard how Barbara Boxer, a patient at a ManorCare subsidiary was ignored by staff as she suffered from gastrointestinal bleeding.  The trial revealed that not only did employees at the nursing home fail to administer any treatment, but they attempted to cover up the situation by removing the bloody sheets– with the tell tale signs that they had watched a lady bleed to death– before notifying the ladies family.

Nursing Home Owner Faces Jail TimeA case case of horrific nursing home neglect (perhaps more accurately nursing home abuse) has been reported in New Mexico.  The owner of an Albuquerque Nursing Home, has been found guilty of in the death of resident who was left sitting on top of a bedpan for more than 24-hours.

The incident occurred on Christmas day, 2005, when the owner of the facility placed the bedpan under 76-year-old Richard Gerhardt and disappeared.  Gerhardt was bed-bound at the time because he was recovering from a broken hip.  By the time the incident had been discovered, the bedpan had become embedded in Gerhardt’s skin.  An open wound soon developed and became infected that ultimately led to his death five days later.

The nursing home faces a possible $5,000 fine and/or loss of federal funding (Medicare).  “Nursing home[s] and care facilities are paid to provide round the clock care to those who cannot care for themselves… Protecting this population is of paramount importance to the New Mexico attorney general and similar violations will be prosecuted vigorously,” said Elizabeth Staley, director of the New Mexico attorney general Elder Abuse and Medicaid Fraud Division.  Read more about this incident involving the death of nursing home resident here.

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Client Reviews

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric