Articles Posted in Nursing Home Issues

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Now that Hurricane Irma has come and gone, it’s time for Florida to start the rebuilding process. While the wrath of Irma may not have been what many news outlets claimed it would be, the storm was still severe, displacing hundreds of thousands and leaving millions of Floridians without power.

Storm at SeaFlorida nursing homes were also affected by the storm, as well as the subsequent power outages. In fact, according to a recent news report, one nursing home is currently facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the surviving loved one of a resident who died in the aftermath of the storm.

According to the report, the plaintiff in the case is the daughter of a 94-year-old woman who was a resident in a South Florida nursing home where eight residents died after the nursing home was left without power while Irma passed. The plaintiff claims that the nursing home’s failure to prepare for the power outage showed “negligence and reckless indifference” toward the residents it was charged to protect.

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Earlier this month, the District Court of Appeal for Florida’s Second District issued a written opinion in a nursing home negligence case. The issue the court had to decide was whether the arbitration clause that was signed by the deceased resident’s daughter could bind the resident’s estate in a subsequent wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. The court held that the agreement could not bind the estate to arbitrate, and it allowed the estate to pursue its claims through the court system.

Attorney's TableThe Facts of the Case

The case arose after a nursing home resident died while in the care of the defendant nursing home. At the time of her death, as well as prior to her admission to the nursing home, the resident was not competent to make her own medical decisions. Thus, the woman’s daughter was helping her get placed into a nursing home facility. As a part of this assistance, the daughter arranged for her mother to stay at the defendant nursing home and signed an arbitration agreement prior to her mother’s admission.

At the time the daughter signed the arbitration agreement, her mother had not assigned a power of attorney to her daughter. In fact, it was undisputed that the daughter was merely acting as a health care proxy for her mother and did not have any control over financial or legal matters involving her mother. However, when the daughter signed the arbitration agreement, she signed on the line designated for a “legal guardian.” The agreement defined a legal guardian as someone “who, under independent legal authority, such as a court order has authority to act on the Resident’s behalf.”

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Earlier this month, the District Court of Appeal of Florida’s Second District issued a written opinion in a nursing home negligence case, invalidating an arbitration agreement signed by one of the resident’s sons. As a result of the court’s decision, the estate of the deceased resident will not be required to argue their claim in front of an arbitration panel, and may file a personal injury case in the Florida court system.

ContractThe Facts of the Case

The nursing home resident was admitted into a nursing home in 2013. Before admission, her son, who had valid power of attorney for his mother, signed the nursing home contract. Included in the contract was an arbitration clause by which the parties agreed any claims arising from the resident’s admission would be settled through arbitration rather than the court system.

Later, the nursing home was acquired by another company. The nursing home claimed that a subsequent agreement was made to replace the old nursing home’s name with the new nursing home’s name. However, this was never admitted into evidence. At some point the resident was injured while in the care of the new nursing home and her estate later filed a personal injury claim against the nursing home.

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Earlier this month, the first case of Ebola was documented in the United States. The first case was a Texas man who had recently returned from a trip to Liberia. He died 14 days after he was exposed to the deadly virus.

nurse-1-1158314-mShortly after his death, a healthcare worker started to develop symptoms of Ebola. The healthcare worker was diagnosed with Ebola and underwent a course of treatment for the disease, luckily recovering 14 days after diagnosis. Just days after the first healthcare worker was diagnosed, another hospital employee was then diagnosed with Ebola, bringing the total count to three. This person, however, flew to Atlanta the day before diagnosis, so all passengers on the two flights needed to be screened. The Centers for Disease Control is currently conducting the necessary screens.

According to a report by one local South Florida news source, South Florida nurses are calling on their hospitals to step up their protective efforts in dealing with Ebola, should a case arise in South Florida. Members of National Nurses United gathered last Friday in Fort Lauderdale to bring awareness to the issue, arguing that “We haven’t gotten hands on effective training that we need to take care of any patient that walks into the ER.”

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