Personal Injury 3868 articles

Oklahoma man abused, neglected

Some disturbing allegations of abuse and neglect are aimed at an Oklahoma nursing home, according to a report yesterday by KOTV in Tulsa. The station reports that family members of 41-year-old James Curnutt say the man was raped and abused while living at a nursing home facility in Jones, Okla., near Oklahoma City. According to the news story, the abuse occurred at the Oak Hills Living Center from August 2007 through February 2008. In addition to the abuse, family members say Curnutt was neglected, left in soiled bedding and clothing. KOTV quotes Curnutt’s father, Richard Curnutt, as saying, “He’s incontinent. ... Read More

text and chew gum?

I’ve heard of the expression of someone not being able to walk and chew gum at the same time, but apparently the newest reality involves the ability to walk and text at the same time. A recent study reveals a growing incidence of injuries, some severe, and even death, as a result of text messaging. Walking, riding a bike, driving or even rollerblading, all while trying to send text messages, is hazardous to your health. According to a recent story on, people are not only experiencing minor injuries like scrapes and sprains from this practice, but more serious injuries ... Read More

Rising abuse in at-home care

The Wall Street Journal published a disturbing new report this week, exploring the issue of elder abuse by those hired to care for them in their homes. According to the report, studies show a rising trend in cases of abuse, neglect, fraud, and even death, perpetrated by in-home caregivers on their frail and ill charges. The report estimates about 1.6 million people are employed in home care. Home caregivers fall into two basic categories – those who provide basic health services, and those who provide non-medical services like housekeeping, cooking and nonmedical help. The WSJ reports these are the second- ... Read More

Lifesaving: not an option

How is it possible that it is only now becoming a requirement that nursing home facilities install life-saving sprinkler systems to help protect residents from fire? Up to this point, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) allowed older facilities that did not have these systems an exemption, allowing them to serve Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries despite the lack of this safety precaution. This week, the organization announced these facilities will have a five-year phase-in period, after which time they must have comprehensive sprinkler systems in place. According to a report in the Senior Journal, the Government Accountability Office ... Read More

Five-star care

This week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans for the establishment of a new ranking system for nursing home performance. Similar to rating systems that the public is familiar with in relation to products or facilities like restaurants and hotels, the new CMS system will rate nursing homes with a “star” system, with five stars being the best and one star the worst. CMS is the federal agency that manages Medicare, the health insurance program for the elderly and disabled, and Medicaid, the health program for the poor. On its web site, CMS says the new ... Read More

U.S. Senate debates arbitration

A joint meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition and Consumer Rights and U.S. Senate Aging Committee was held this morning to discuss S. 2838, The Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act, sponsored by Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, and Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla. The bill’s sponsors argued that more nursing home facilities are requiring patients and their families to sign mandatory arbitration agreements, signing away their right to sue in the event of abuse or neglect, which they said is unfair. “We believe the vast majority of nursing homes ... Read More

Senate supports roof crush liability

A U.S. Senate panel recommended Wednesday that a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposal on vehicle roof strength requirements be amended so that it does not limit the ability of plaintiffs to sue automakers in roof crush cases, according to an Associated Press report. The NHTSA proposal to upgrade Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 216 (FMVSS 216) would require that a roof withstand an applied force equal to 2.5 times the vehicle’s weight while maintaining sufficient headroom for an average size adult male. The current standard is 1.5 times the vehicle’s weight. Consumer groups, led by the People ... Read More

Fear of Retaliation

Phil Kadner, a reporter for the Southtown Star in Illinios, recently told of a heartbreaking visit to his office by an elderly gentleman whose wife recently died while under care in a nursing home. Crying, the man told Kadner he was afraid to complain about what he saw as neglectful treatment, fearing the nursing home staff would retaliate by treating her worse. The man recounted deficiencies including a room with no telephone or oxygen supply hook-up (requiring portable tanks to be wheeled in when needed), an ill-fitting oxygen mask, and problems with medications, among other things. Worried about “retaliation,” as ... Read More

FEMA Trailers Toxic

On May 25, MSNBC reported that investigation continues in cases of illness resulting from FEMA trailers provided to evacuees from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Formaldehyde was detected in the travel trailers and mobile homes in unusually high levels, and about 17,000 people are claiming the homes caused illnesses for themselves or loved ones. This report was written by MSNBC’s Spencer S. Hsu. WASHINGTON – Within days of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in August 2005, frantic officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered nearly $2.7 billion worth of trailers and mobile homes to house the storm’s victims, many of them using a ... Read More

Abuse Records Reopened

A decision from Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office on May 27 reverses an earlier decision to keep secret the names of people fired from care facilities for abusing elderly and disabled clients. According to The Des Moines Register, the new decision comes nine months after the state first began to limit access to the information. The Register reports that records with names of caregivers fired for abuse were sealed beginning last August based on a new interpretation of a state law that has been on the books for 17 years, which specifies that judges are obligated to keep “unspecified ... Read More