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Jackson Personal Injury Blog

MS Nursing home residents vulnerable to sex abuse

Many people in Mississippi were shocked when hearing the news that a 29-year old resident at a long-term health facility had given birth to a baby boy. The resident had required round-the-clock nursing care since the age of three and suffered from profound intellectual and physical disabilities. After an investigation during which male staffers were required to submit their DNA for testing, investigators determined that a male nurse had fathered the baby.

Some observers have opined that sexual abuse of nursing home residents is quite common. Nursing home residents often suffer from physical and mental disabilities that make them quite vulnerable to abuse. Some may have difficulty communicating with others about the abuse inflicted on them. Another difficulty is that sexual predators are often drawn to nursing home work. Many predators have sexual fetishes that give them pleasure from having complete control other another human being.

The majority of today’s nursing homes lack adequate staff

Transitioning a parent from living independently to living in a nursing home is difficult in and of itself. However, it can prove even more emotionally taxing if you have concerns about the quality of care your mom or dad receives while there. Unfortunately, many American nursing homes suffer from internal issues that can affect the treatment and care your loved one receives, and one such common issue involves nursing home understaffing.

According to PBS, the majority of nursing homes across Mississippi and the nation experience understaffing issues, making it all but impossible for staff members on duty to provide adequate care for residents. While the problem is a pervasive one at many nursing homes and continuing care facilities around the clock, it appears to be particularly noticeable on weekends.

Road Safe America advocates safety tech as truck crashes rise

The highway safety non-profit Road Safe America has recently looked over some federal data on large truck crash deaths in Mississippi and across the nation. The data spanned from 2009 to 2017, the latest year for which complete statistics are available, and the non-profit found that all but six states in the U.S. saw an increase in large truck crash deaths during that period.

There were 35,882 deaths. At the same time, the period from 2009 to 2016 saw a decrease in the number of miles driven by heavy commercial truck drivers. The state that saw the greatest increase was Washington, followed by Idaho, Colorado, Texas and Nevada. Incidentally, most of these states have 70 mph speed limits for commercial trucks: a speed that, according to Road Safe America, is unsafe for any vehicles weighing over 80,000 pounds.

Horrific cases shine light on nursing home abuse

For too many elderly or incapacitated people in Mississippi, abuse or neglect inside a nursing home is a fact of life. Family members may be concerned about how they can protect people who may not be able to advocate for themselves, especially if they are dealing with dementia, developmental disabilities or other conditions that make them less able to speak about their experiences. Several disturbing incidents have highlighted the potential for abuse in the nursing home context, including a young developmentally disabled woman who was raped and beaten and a woman in a vegetative state who was discovered to be pregnant.

Both were being cared for in nursing homes when the abuse was discovered, and the perpetrators are still apparently unknown. As a result, family members have been seeking more information about the experiences of their own loved ones in care homes or nursing facilities. While these cases may be particularly extreme, physical violence, sexual abuse or verbal and financial mistreatment can occur and go unnoticed. Between 2013 and 2016, over 1,000 nursing homes were cited by federal authorities for failing to prevent sexual assault, abuse or rape inside their facilities. Around 100 were cited multiple times during that three-year period for the same offenses.

Seat belt neglect may be partly behind rise in CMV crash deaths

Mississippi drivers who neglect to wear their seat belts should be aware of the added dangers they face. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has just studied commercial motor vehicle crash data for 2017 and found that the rise in crash fatalities is partly due to seat belt neglect.

Specifically, there were 5,005 CMV crash fatalities in 2017, a significant increase from the 3,193 fatalities in 2009. Of these, 841 were large truck occupants -- 717 drivers and 124 passengers. Of the 717 drivers who were killed, 322 were found without their seat belts on.

If you suspect nursing home abuse, do these 4 things

Few decisions are more heart-wrenching than choosing to place an aging parent in a nursing home. Still, often a long-term care facility is the best option. If your mother or father lives in a nursing home, you want to be certain she or he receives top-notch care. 

Unfortunately, not all healthcare providers offer an exceptional level of care to aging patients. Sometimes, neglect turns into abuse. If you suspect your elderly parent is the victim of nursing home abuse, you must act quickly to protect your loved one and assert your legal rights. Here are four things you should do. 

Investigation begins in sexual assault case

Mississippi residents may have heard about a story involving a woman in a vegetative state who gave birth in December 2018. The woman had been in that state for roughly two decades when her son was born. Although nursing home caretakers were watching over the woman on a 24/7 basis, no one has acknowledged anything out of the ordinary took place prior to the event. According to one person familiar with the incident, she would not have been able to defend herself against a sexual assault.

She would also not be able to tell anyone that she was pregnant. Multiple people did have access to the 29-year-old woman's room, and police have obtained warrants to collect DNA samples from male employees. An investigation into the incident is being undertaken by the Arizona Department of Health. Hacienda HealthCare has also said that it is conducting an investigation and that it has changed its policies to ensure something similar doesn't happen again.

How ADHD medication can affect driver safety

Mississippi residents with concerns about distracted driving should be aware of a JAMA Psychiatry study that shows ADHD medication greatly reduces the chances a driver with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder will get in a car accident. The study examined more than 2.3 million Americans and demonstrated that up to 22.1 percent of car crashes may not have happened if the drivers had received ADHD medication.

ADHD is a disorder with core symptoms that include inattention and impulsivity, two factors that may greatly interfere with a person's ability to drive safely. The study found that 83.9 percent of the drivers with ADHD received at least a single prescription for ADHD medication. Researchers then looked at emergency room visits resulting from car accidents that occurred while the patients were behind the wheel. The study found that the risk of getting into a car accident was much higher during months when patients did not refill their prescriptions. However, when they were presumably medicated, their risk was much lower. Female ADHD patients had a 42 percent lower risk of getting into a car accident when they were medicated and male ADHD patients had a 38 percent lower risk.

Seat belts prevent or lower the severity of liver injuries

Emergency rooms in Mississippi and around the country treat about 2 million car accident victims each year, and many of these road users are admitted because of blunt force abdominal trauma. Two of the organs most commonly damaged in automobile accidents are the liver and spleen. However, wearing a seat belt reduces the risks of suffering such an injury by more than 20 percent, according to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health that was recently published.

The safety benefits of seat belt use are well established, but a team of researchers from New York University and the University of Kansas Medical Center wanted to find out how effective they are at preventing serious liver injuries. After studying patient admissions collected by the National Trauma Data Bank between 2010 and 2015, the researchers identified 51,202 motor vehicle accident cases that involved varying degrees of abdominal trauma.

Nursing home neglect abuses continue

The history of almshouses, charitable housing for the poor, old and distressed, predates the settlement of America. Over the years, conditions in these facilities have been the subject of much debate. With the post-Depression establishment of government-funded social programs and the advent of Medicare and Medicaid, skilled nursing facilities grew exponentially to care for the aging population. Unfortunately, the quality of care in Mississippi nursing homes is not always ideal.

Government studies paint an ominous picture of this problem. It is estimated that up to 5 percent of all nursing home patients in the U.S. are the subjects of criminal neglect. Many people consider the criminal behavior to be assertive acts, such as assault or theft. While this certainly this does occur in nursing homes, criminally neglectful behavior also includes the failure to provide adequate care.

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