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South Carolina Medical Malpractice Law Blog

South Carolina laws do little to protect elderly from abuse

A new report examining elder abuse laws in South Carolina presents troubling possibilities for those who receive elder care in the Palmetto State, as well as those who have elderly loved ones here. According to the report, South Carolina ranks poorly in a number of areas that affect how victims fight back against abuse and the overall quality of care they may receive.

If you suspect that someone you love is the victim of elder abuse, especially while receiving elder care from professional caregivers, then you must look at your legal options carefully. A strong legal strategy is sometimes the only way to keep victims' rights protected. The sooner you begin building these protections, the sooner you and the ones you love can begin to move on from the abuse.

The drive for financial profit can undermine patient care

The privatization of medicine has had some truly beneficial effects for the average citizen. For example, competition between doctors and hospitals leads to more investment in the best technology and continuing education. Where there is competition, there is potential for a higher standard of care and more drive for innovation.

However, the focus on profit and medicine has also had negative consequences for those who seek medical care. Many times, the desire to keep costs as low as possible to maximize profits can drive decision-making in a corporate hospital or medical practice. The end result is a focus on finances instead of the standard of care provided to patients.

Medical mistakes and reasons for poor patient care

The main goal of any medical professional is to give their patients the best possible care that they can provide. The profession exists to help people. Many young medical students embrace this idealism with optimism, looking forward to the day that they can work hard for others.

However, the reality is that many patients and doctors feel like people do not get the care that they deserve. The doctor-patient relationship is not as healthy as it should be. They understand that this can lead to mistakes and even malpractice, but changing the system starts by understanding how things got to this point in the first place.

Do you know the warning signs of older adult financial abuse?

After placing your loved one in a residential care facility or nursing home, you are probably watching carefully for signs of physical abuse. Bruises, bed sores and other warning signs can let you know if your loved one faces abuse or isn't receiving adequate care in a facility.

However, physical abuse is only one of the issues you should watch for. You should also be aware of the potential for financial abuse, which is far too common for older adults in assisted living facilities, especially for adults with declining mental faculties.

Delays in reproductive diagnosis can cause pain and infertility

Timely diagnosis is critical to a good outcome for treatable medical conditions. This is true both for conditions that threaten the life of the patient and those that impact their quality of life. All too often, doctors overlook symptoms reported by patients or fail to order adequate testing when patients present issues.

In the case of reproductive health issues, delays and diagnostic failures by doctors can have devastating results. In some cases, they may result in infertility issues that prevent a family from growing. Other times, the delay can severely impact the patient's quality of life or even their ability to retain a job.

Signs that your loved one isn't getting proper nursing home care

The sad truth is that nursing home neglect and abuse does happen. You can read all the reviews. You can tour all the facilities. You can talk to all the directors. Doing your research helps, but there is still a chance that your loved one will suffer unnecessarily at the home you select.

How can you see it as soon as it starts? That's the hard part. Even if you had time to visit every single day, you're still there for only a mere fraction of the time your loved one is in the facility. You cannot keep an eye on them at all times. You need to know exactly what to look for.

Cancer requires a timely diagnosis for effective treatments

Cancer is likely one of the most feared diagnoses that modern patients have to worry about when visiting the doctor. After all, there are many kinds of cancer, many of which have reputations for being painful and debilitating. More importantly, the treatments that come along with a cancer diagnosis can seem frightening to a patient.

Chemotherapy can leave somebody weak and result in a loss of both appetite and hair. Radiation treatments can impact appetite and further weaken a patient. Surgeries can take weeks to fully recover from, even if they are necessary for removing a tumor. Getting an accurate diagnosis of cancer is certainly frightening, but not receiving a timely diagnosis is a more serious concern for patients. After all, the cancer will continue growing, untreated, until you receive an accurate diagnosis.

What is the Nursing Home Reform Act?

When someone checks into a nursing home, they expect to receive adequate care and attention to meet their living needs. Generally, residents can expect to receive meals, medical care, bathing care and other services that they require to live a quality life. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes live up to their end of the bargain in this regard, and there are many cases in which nursing homes neglect their patients to such a degree that they are in violation of the law.

One of the most important laws that governs the activities of nursing homes is the Nursing Home Reform Act, which became law in 1987. This act details the kinds of services nursing homes have to provide their residents. It also creates a standard level for these services.

Bedsores are a potential warning sign of nursing home neglect

Not so long ago, some elderly patients couldn't avoid developing bedsores. Weight loss during aging would leave them particularly bony and susceptible to these developing bedsores. Thankfully, modern technology has made it much easier for nursing home aides and workers to provide adequate cushioning and relief to people who are immobilized.

Unfortunately, social perception has not caught up with this improvement and many people still assume that bedsores are a common and reasonable side effect of being bedridden. If you notice that your loved one has developed a bedsore while in a nursing home, that may be an early warning sign of neglect and inadequate care.

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