Who’s At Fault After a Nursing Home Death in Missouri

Deaths from nursing home abuse and neglect are underreported in Kansas City, Missouri and throughout the United States. The signs of abuse and neglect can be overlooked, and the victims usually cannot speak for themselves. Since abusers are often people in charge of the care of the victims, they will not report the abuse or advise family members to consult with a Missouri nursing home abuse attorney.

One source states that at least 10 percent of adults 65 and older will be the victim of some type of abuse. Some seniors may experience more than one type of elder abuse. According to the World Health Organization, two in three staff members in nursing homes and long-term care facilities admit to committing abuse in the past year. Sadly, abuse can lead to traumatic injuries and can result in death.

Unfortunately, abuse is not the only problem in nursing homes. Neglect can often be as traumatic as abuse. Residents who are neglected may develop life-threatening conditions or sustain injuries that result in death. 

If your family member passed away at a nursing home in Kansas City or throughout Missouri, call our nursing home abuse lawyer for a free, no obligation consultation at 816-203-0143.

What to Do If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect at a Missouri Nursing Home?

If your loved one died in a nursing home, you might have questions about the cause of the death. The nursing home may avoid answering questions or purposefully try to block your inquiries. What can you do?

When a resident dies in a nursing home, the nursing home and other parties may be at fault for the death if it was negligent or committed intentional wrongdoing. Getting help from a Kansas City nursing home abuse attorney is the first step in discovering what happened to your loved one.

An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer will help you fight for answers. If your loved one died because of abuse or neglect at a nursing home in Missouri, you can pursue a wrongful death claim under Missouri law to hold the facility accountable for its negligence and wrongdoing.

Types of Wrongful Deaths in Nursing Homes Throughout Missouri

Death is a natural occurrence in nursing homes. These facilities are the home to residents who are living out their final days. Many of the residents in nursing homes die of old age or complications from illnesses and diseases. A nursing home is not legally responsible for a death if it is caused simply by natural causes or underlying medical conditions.

However, unnatural deaths occur because of neglect, abuse, and other wrongful acts in nursing homes in Kansas City and throughout Missouri. Examples of abuse and neglect in nursing homes that can lead to the wrongful death of a resident include, but are not limited to:

Falls

More than one in four senior adults are injured in falls each year. About twenty percent of falls cause serious injuries, including head injuries and broken bones. According to the CDC, fall deaths among older adults increased by 30 percent from 2007 through 2016.

Older adults have a high risk of falling due to poor vision, lack of coordination, medication side effects, illnesses, decreased balance, and lower body weakness. Nursing homes should have fall prevention policies in place to reduce the risk of falls. Residents with an increased fall risk should not be left unattended when they are standing or walking.

Lack of policies and prevention programs to prevent falls can result in liability for a nursing home if a patient falls and dies.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse in nursing homes. Staff members and other residents may abuse residents. Abused nursing home residents are often unable to report the abuse or are too scared to say anything to family, friends, or doctors.When is a Nursing Home at Fault for a Death in Missouri?

Abuse can result in broken bones and head injuries. Continued abuse can be an underlying cause of a resident’s death. 

The abuse may be subtle and difficult to detect. Knowing the signs of nursing home abuse and checking on loved ones frequently is the best way to protect a loved one from this heinous crime.

Dehydration & Malnutrition 

Patients may not be able to feed themselves or drink without assistance. The nursing home has a duty to ensure that residents receive food and fluids to prevent dehydration and malnutrition. If a patient is unable to eat or drink without assistance, staff members should help them.

If a patient shows signs of dehydration or malnutrition, the facility should seek medical assistance for the patient. The patient may need nutritional supplements.

In some cases, staff members purposefully withhold fluids so that patients do not need to go to the bathroom as often or do not wet the bed. This form of abuse can result in a wrongful death.

Infections & Failure to Diagnose/Treat 

Infections are common in nursing homes. Patients may develop infections from bed sores, poor personal hygiene, unsanitary conditions, and improper medical procedures. Without proper care, a patient can die from an infection in a short period.

Failure to diagnose or treat conditions properly is another cause of wrongful death among nursing home patients. Incorrect medications and doses may cause a patient’s death. 

How to File a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Action in Missouri 

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities owe a duty of care to their residents. They must provide adequate and reasonable care for all patients. The facilities have a duty to protect their patients from abuse, neglect, and intentional wrongdoing.

When a nursing home fails in the duty of care, it can be held liable if a resident dies. Under Missouri wrongful death laws, a wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of another party’s reckless, negligent, or intentional acts. Family members can file a wrongful death action seeking compensation for damages caused by the wrongful death.

Even though a financial award cannot bring back your loved one, it does hold the nursing home and the individuals responsible for your loved one’s death accountable. The case also brings to light the abuse and neglect occurring in the facility, so that other patients may not suffer the way your family member suffered before his or her death.

In addition to civil claims for wrongful death, nursing homes and individuals may also face government penalties and criminal charges. Numerous federal and state laws govern nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Breaking any of these laws can result in fines and other penalties. Additionally, the individuals responsible for the abuse, neglect, and death of a patient could face criminal charges for their actions. 

Contact Our Missouri Wrongful Death Lawyer After a Nursing Home Death

If your loved one died suddenly and without a reasonable cause of death, you want answers. The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus is here to help. We investigate wrongful deaths in Missouri nursing homes. We fight to get answers for families and hold the nursing home accountable for its negligence and wrongdoing.

Contact our office to schedule your free consultation with a Missouri wrongful death lawyer by calling 816-203-0143 or completing our online contact form.

 

Kevin J. McManus
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Kevin McManus is a nationally recognized personal injury and long-term disability attorney in Kansas City, MO.