If you’re looking for another prime example of nursing home neglect, you need look no farther than to take a look at a news story in The Palm Beach Post regarding an elderly patient at Gainesville Health Care Center, a Florida nursing home.
After losing an eye to cancer, the patient was admitted to Gainesville for medical care that included changing the dressings covering the eye socket.
Despite physician orders to change the dressings twice daily, staff apparently failed to do so claiming that that patient wouldn’t cooperate. During an examination at a Veterans Administration facility, following a stay at Gainesville, staff discovered that the man’s eye had become infected and maggots were also found in the empty socket.
The situation was so severe, Veterans Administration authorities filed a report with the Adult Protective Services unit of the Florida Department of Children and Families who confirmed the mistreatment. Despite the patient’s refusals to allow staff to change his dressings, the facility never notified the man’s physician or family.
A Facilities Duty to Provide Care vs. A Patient’s Wishes
As a nursing home lawyer, I frequently see situations where facilities fail to provide medical care due to the fact that the patient is refusing such care. In situations where a patient truly does not want the medical treatment prescribed, nursing homes still must notify the patient’s physician and family of the situation.
In situations where the patient’s lacks the capacity to make such decisions, staff should notify the patient’s power of attorney and determine how they wish to proceed. Failure to contact the patient’s power of attorney in these situations certainly exposes facilities to liability for failing to follow the patient’s care plan.
Related Nursing Homes Abuse Blog Entries:
Nursing Home Injury Laws: Florida