Wandering Into Danger by Boca Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Joe Osborne

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If nursing home residents are allowed to wander where they shouldn’t be it can result in serious injury or death says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne

 Maybe you need a break from work or it’s just too nice to stay inside. You get up, go outside for some fresh air, maybe take a walk down the street and stretch a little. What may be common, ordinary and actually good for you may be deadly for a nursing home resident, especially one suffering from dementia. Wandering away from a nursing home, also known as elopement, is a sign a facility is not doing enough to keep residents safe Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.

Wandering for nursing home residents presents a challenge. The person shouldn’t be overly restricted but needs to be kept safe and prevented from getting him or herself in danger. Anyone with memory problems and able to walk may wander off site or to a place in a nursing home that’s dangerous. The person may not have intended to wander, just got lost trying to go from one place to another.

The Gazette reports that there’s an average of about 125,000 search-and-rescue missions involving volunteers each year for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Two of those instances are,

  • A woman wandered away from her Maryland assisted living facility in 2014 and was struck and killed by a car.
  • A resident of a Colorado assisted living facility died from complications of hypothermia after he wandered away in March 2015.

There are many steps a facility can take to reduce the risk of serious injury because a resident wandered out of the building according to iAdvance Senior Care.

  • Ongoing risk assessments of residents should be done to determine which residents are at a higher risk for elopement.
  • About half of elopements happen within the first days of admission. New residents should be in rooms away from exits, sensory stimulus should be limited, there needs to be enough oversight, staff needs to be told about the resident’s risks and unusual behavior or wandering needs to be reported.
  • There are “anti-wandering systems” available to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They sound an alarm if a person with the device gets near an outside door or other dangerous area.
  • If the resident was close to leaving the facility, staff needs to go over what happened to prevent another occurrence.
  • All staff, including housekeeping, dietary and those involved in therapy need to make prevent wandering part of their jobs.

If it’s discovered a resident left a facility by him or herself, a facility needs to have a plan to search for the person inside and outside the facility, execute it and notify local law enforcement. The facility should have a recent photo to give to searchers and the media and have periodic drills to measure how effective and practical the plan would be if an elopement actually happens.

If a nursing home resident wandered away from a facility or wandered into a dangerous situation inside a nursing home, it’s the combination of two things: the person is capable of wandering where he or she shouldn’t be and the resident wasn’t prevented from doing so by the facility. Often these types of mistakes by nursing home management and staff are the results of negligence and could be the basis for a lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to negligence by a nursing home in the South Florida area, contact Boca Raton nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.

Medication Errors Threaten Residents Says Boca Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

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Medication errors in nursing homes are common and mostly preventable, often leading to serious injuries and deaths says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.

Residents of nursing homes may need to take several medications to help treat the medical challenges they face. If the wrong drug is taken, or the right medication is given but at the wrong dosage at the wrong time, there can be severe health consequences says Boca nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne.

These medication errors are common in the healthcare system in general and in nursing homes in particular. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines a medication error as,

  • Any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient or consumer.
  • Such events may be related to professional practice and systems, including: prescription, order communication, product labeling, packaging, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, education, monitoring and use.

The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services looked into the issue of medication errors in skilled nursing facilities. After their investigation they issued a report in 2014 which found,

  • About 22% of Medicare patients experienced adverse events during their stays.
  • 79% of those suffering adverse events needed to stay in facilities longer or needed hospital treatment, 14% needed medical intervention to save the person’s life and 6% of the time the medication error contributed to or caused the resident’s death.
  • In one month’s time (August 2011) an estimated 1,538 Medicare patients in skilled nursing facilities nationwide died with medication errors at least partially to blame.
  • Medication errors caused “cascade events” in 3,986 residents where errors triggered multiple medical issues in residents often suffering from more than one medical condition.
  • Another 11% suffered temporary harm during their stays. In many cases the harm was only temporary because of quick responses by staff.
  • Physicians reviewing the issue found that 59% of adverse and temporary harm events were clearly or likely preventable.
  • The top problems were substandard treatment, inadequate resident monitoring and failure or delay of necessary care.
  • More than half of the residents who suffered harm needed hospital treatment (a total of 20,393 people), costing Medicare an estimated $208 million in just one month, August 2011.
  • For fiscal year 2011 the report estimated that medication errors cost Medicare $2.8 billion for hospital treatment due to harm caused by medication errors in skilled nursing facilities nationwide.

There are many potential reasons why medication errors occur, they aren’t discovered until it’s too late and residents are not treated appropriately.

  • Overworked staff caring for too many residents may be in a rush to get work done before a shift is over.
  • Poor communication or errors in medical records can result in the wrong drug or wrong dosage being used.
  • Residents may not know what medications they need to take and are unable to ensure they’re being treated properly.

If a family member living in an assisted living facility or nursing home in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach Counties suffered harm because of a medication error, contact Boca Raton nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. We can talk about the situation, how the law could apply in your case and the best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.

Accidents Rise Labor Day Weekend Says Boca Raton Car Accident Lawyer Joe Osborne

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Drunk drivers pose a real danger to Labor Day Weekend drivers says Boca Raton car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.

Labor Day Weekend is one of the most dangerous holidays when it comes to traffic accidents. The upcoming weekend is second only to Thanksgiving nationwide when it comes to vehicle accidents and fatalities, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). In a podcast available on YouTube Boca Raton car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says drivers need to be extra careful of drunk drivers when driving in especially busy traffic.

The NSC estimates that on average for the past five years there were 375 traffic fatalities over Labor Day Weekend, according to a 2015 study. About 37% of those accidents involved an alcohol impaired driver.

“During Labor Day weekend, the last weekend of the summer, many families and adults have vacations before the kids go back to school. There’s a lot of crowds and there’s a lot of people in a hurry. People are certainly celebrating the end of the summer and with all that the risk of car accidents and traffic problems increases,” adds car accident attorney Osborne says.

“In a case we had just a couple years ago we represented a young girl who on Labor Day weekend got a flat tire on a on a major road in Boca Raton on Friday afternoon. While she was changing the tire her car was rear-ended by a drunk driver who had been out celebrating the start of the weekend. Because he was operating his vehicle under the influence of alcohol he was distracted and in a hurry. My client ended up suffering significant injuries and had to be hospitalized all because of a flat tire and a drunk driver,” Osborne says.

He has suggestions to motorists to try to be safe this weekend. “Don’t drink and drive. Please stay off the roadways if you decide to have a few cocktails or to go out and celebrate. With all the available resources today between Uber, Lyft and taxis use these services if you are out celebrating. Wear your seatbelt and be sure to not be distracted while driving,” Osborne says.

He warns that drunk driving not only can take a physical toll due to injuries but also creates legal issues if it results in an arrest. “Here in Florida and nationally the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ programs are in place. The Boca Raton Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office are actively engaged with this program. If you see anybody you believe is impaired while driving, whether it’s on the highway or a local road, call 911 and report it to local authorities.”

If you or a family member are injured in an auto accident in the South Florida area on Labor Day weekend, contact Boca Raton car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.


Boca Raton Hip Replacement Lawyer Describes Failed Hip Replacement Surgery

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A failing hip replacement can show itself with symptoms around the joint as well as throughout the body, reports Boca Raton hip replacement lawyer Joe Osborne.

The first metal replacement hip in the United States dates back to 1940. The history of these devices, like many medical devices, includes advancements, improvements and problems. According to Joe Osborne, a Boca Raton hip replacement lawyer, “for those with defective artificial hips these problems can severely limit your physical abilities, give you acute pain and threaten your health and life.”

For metal on metal hip replacements, where both the new ball and socket of the artificial hip are made of metal, problems arise because the metal parts rub together continuously and eventually metal leaches out into the blood stream as well as into nearby tissue and bone. How do you know you’re having problems with an artificial hip?

Metal debris from the hip can cause inflammation in nearby tissues causing bone loss, which can cause the implant to loosen. Up to 35% of defective, modular, artificial hips removed from patients show corrosion or other evidence of damage, according to St. George Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

Bone fracture, dislocation of the hip, components being in the wrong position, infection around the implant and certain stem designs can also contribute to loosening of the stem component.

Symptoms may include hip/groin pain, swelling, numbness or having difficulty walking.

The metal from the joints doesn’t just stay in the area of the hip. It can spread through your entire body through your blood stream causing metal poisoning, or metallosis. Patients with metal on metal hip implants need to pay close attention to changes in their general health, in addition to new or worsening symptoms involving the hip. There could be,

General hypersensitivity reaction (skin rash),

Cardiomyopathy (abnormal heart muscle, making it more difficult to pump blood through your body),

Neurological changes including sensory changes (difficulty in hearing or seeing),

Psychological change (including depression or cognitive impairment),

Kidney impairment, anAnchord

Thyroid dysfunction (including neck discomfort, fatigue, weight gain or feeling cold).

Other issues can arise when the components mechanically loosen over time (often five to ten years after surgery with a much greater chance of this happening 12 to 15 years post-surgery), especially if the person is young and has used the new joint for a long time, is physically active or over weight. Eventually the joint may dislocate, essentially falling apart. Thigh pain is the main symptom of stem loosening, especially during walking. The pain often radiates to the knee, adds Joe Osborne hip replacement attorney in Boca Raton.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has this advice for anyone with a metal on metal artificial hip showing these symptoms,

If you are suffering hip/groin pain, noise from the joint, difficulty walking or a worsening of your prior symptoms, see your orthopedic surgeon to evaluate your implant. You may need a physical exam and other evaluations depending on your symptoms.

If there are new symptoms or medical conditions outside of your hip, report these to your primary physician and remind him or her that you have a metal-on-metal hip implant.

If you show symptoms of a failing hip or you are unsure you can set up a free review with our office to determine the type and model of your replacement hip implant and whether it is part of the hip replacement recall. You can discuss your legal rights with an experienced Boca Raton hip replacement lawyer about compensation for the pain, suffering, physical limitations, additional medical treatments, impact on your life, relationships and ability to work. We can talk about how the law may apply to your situation and the best ways to protect your legal rights and interests.