Furr & Henshaw
Myrtle Beach
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South Carolina Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Financial abuse is a reality in many assisted living facilities

Improper care of nursing home residents can take many forms. Sometimes, it looks like a messy facility or a lack of adequate staff. Other times, nursing home abuse can look like inappropriate financial pressure placed on residents by staff.

While many family members who have loved ones in nursing homes will likely be on the lookout for warning signs of significant neglect or ongoing abuse, they may not stop to think about the potential for financial abuse.

An over-eager doctor can be a real danger in the delivery room

Pregnancy, labor and delivery are natural processes through which a human grows a new life form and then pushes it out of their body. Women have been birthing children for as long as the species has existed. Despite issues with maternal and infant mortality, most women and children survived the birth process.

Unfortunately, some doctors in western medicine tend to take an aggressive approach toward labor and delivery. Doctors try to handle it like it is a disease or a medical condition that requires treatment and intervention, rather than as a natural process that should occur mostly on its own. The consequence of that attitude is that doctors may take unnecessary steps that cause more danger for the patient.

Why it's so hard to stop nursing home abuse

Many abusers simply look for vulnerable individuals whom they think they can take advantage of. This is why you see cases of domestic violence, for example, that target young people or those who are financially dependent on their abusers. It makes them vulnerable.

That's also part of the reason for nursing home abuse. The elderly have a relationship with their caregivers that makes them directly vulnerable. They need that care to stay healthy. They may not have any way to physically stand up for themselves. Abusers see this as an opportunity for financial abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and mental abuse, and much more.

You have to be your own advocate in labor and delivery

If you are like many expectant mothers, you probably put a lot of thought into selecting your obstetrician when you realized you were pregnant. It's also possible that you trusted your family doctor to provide prenatal services and help when your child arrives. Unfortunately, not every doctor really deserves the trust that pregnant women place in them.

While most doctors are dedicated to the care of their patients, there are always a few bad eggs. Your doctor may even convince you that they have your best interest at heart until you arrive at the hospital for the birth of your child. Then, you could find yourself facing the harsh reality of that your doctor is more concerned with their own convenience than with your safety and health.

Nursing home tour red flags

The first step to choosing a nursing home for your loved one feels simple: You need to pick out a number of homes in the area and take a tour. Depending on the situation, you may bring your loved one on this tour to make the choice, or you may wind up making it yourself -- if they are suffering from mental conditions that make it impossible for them to choose, for example. No matter how you plan to select the home, though, you just need to tour a few, get a feel for what they offer and decide which one is the best fit.

You know that all of the nursing homes are going to put their best foot forward and tell you about the advantages during the tour. They're trying to sell a product. They want it to look good.

Did your doctor administer a drug without proper follow-up care?

Medications developed to impact the human body can sometimes have unintended physical consequences. Physicians refer to these consequences as side effects. These side effects could include anything from headaches or nausea to weight gain, impotence or even psychosis.

A large number of drugs have unexpected and potentially dangerous side effects, necessitating careful monitoring on the part of any physician to ensure that the patient is safe and continuing to take the drug in question. Unfortunately, many physicians fail to adequately warn their patients about all of the potential consequences or side effects associated with the medication. They may feel complacent because extreme reactions are rare. However, they do happen.

A delay in lung cancer diagnosis can affect outcomes

As with many diseases, lung cancer has a better prognosis if it is detected early. If lung cancer is diagnosed in its early stages, it is possible to cure. However, unfortunately, patients who visit a doctor complaining of telltale symptoms of lung cancer do not always get a swift diagnosis.

There are two main types of lung cancer, and these are referred to as non-small cell lung cancer, comprising around 80 percent of diagnoses, and small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer can be diagnosed through a biopsy. In order for a biopsy to take place, a doctor will need to have a reasonable amount of suspicion that the patient is indeed suffering from lung cancer. This suspicion should arise from the patient being at risk due to their age and lifestyle, as well as the symptoms that they are experiencing.

Pest infestations in care facilities are an indicator of neglect

Any place where people live, pests and microbes that attack the human body tend to congregate. It is well known that medical facilities are major disease vectors, meaning they facilitate the passage of illness, disease or pests from one person to another.

However, just because such infestations and infections are common in medical and group home settings does not mean that they are acceptable, especially if they go unaddressed or untreated. When you have a loved one living in a nursing home or a similar care facility, you expect that the facility will maintain certain levels of cleanliness to protect its residents.

Do you know how to recognize nursing home abuse?

Moving a loved one into a nursing home facility is a difficult decision. However, if you know that it's best for them, you can take comfort in the fact that they're receiving the care they require.

While it's never easy to think about, nursing home abuse remains a problem in facilities throughout the country. This isn't to say that your loved one will be the victim of abuse at some point. However, you should always keep your eyes open for any signs of abuse.

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.

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