Has Nursing Home Negligence and State Policy Caused COVID-19 Cases and Deaths?
Matt Dreesen – Dreesen Law
According to recent articles in the Washington Posts, the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets, the negligence of nursing homes have caused an increase in deaths and infections from COVID-19 among residents. While no one wants to cast blame on front-line workers during this crisis, the facts seem clear that in many nursing homes, proper policies of sanitation and isolation of sick patients was not followed.
At least one major nursing home chain violated federal standards meant to stop spread of disease. The Washington Post reported on May 17, 2020, “Nursing homes operated by Life Care Centers of America, one of the largest chains in the industry, violated federal standards meant to stop the spread of infections and communicable diseases even after outbreaks and deaths from covid-19 began to sweep its facilities from the Pacific Northwest to New England, inspection reports show.” The Post went on to describe violations that inspectors found including lack of proper hand washing of staff, lack of sanitizing medical equipment between patient use, and the mixing together of residents who had and had not tested positive for COVID-19.
The Post quoted Life Care President Beecher Hunter, “Life Care Centers of America and its affiliated facilities are not perfect; no organization is because it is made up of people, and people are imperfect human beings,” Hunter said in an email to The Post. “. . . Our healthcare heroes will from time to time unfortunately fall below our standards for resident care.”
In the state of New York and several other states, the official policy of the state was to send recovering COVID-19 patients to nursing homes for continued treatment in the same facility as those who did not have COVID-19. These residents who were the most vulnerable to the rising death rates were put in jeopardy due to state policy. Many became sick and many died.
The Wall Street Journal reports that New York state has now reversed its policy requiring nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients. “The policy before the U-turn is one of several decisions the state made that are now coming under fire, as New York’s death toll tied to nursing homes rises, to 5,398 presumed and confirmed fatalities as of May 12, more than any other state and a significant part of New York’s total deaths.” With that death toll, it seems it was a bit too late for the welcome reversal.
If you feel that a loved one in a nursing home became ill or died with COVID-19 due to potential negligence or state mandates, please contact us at Dreesen Law in Chesterfield, MO. We would be happy to listen and advise you of your rights even if you or your loved one lived in another state.
For more information, you can read the articles referenced above here:
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