Nursing homes in Texas and throughout the nation are facing scrutiny as a large percentage of the deaths related to COVID-19 have been elderly residents. According to a recent article in The New York Times, one-third of all coronavirus deaths in the U.S. are nursing home residents or workers. The report indicates that more than 28,100 residents and long-term care facility workers have succumbed to the virus at approximately 7,700 facilities across the country. Data from the article shows 374 facilities in Texas have seen 1,332 cases and 478 deaths. Many predict these numbers are a gross underestimate. On Monday, March 11, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Texas would start testing all nursing home residents and workers for COVID-19 to get a better handle on the outbreak.
The lawyers at Shamieh Law offer support for COVID-19 victims and their loved ones. The pandemic has caused widespread disruption and has forever changed the lives of millions. If you lost a loved one who was living in a nursing home in Texas to coronavirus, please contact us today. In the event the facility was negligent in the way they provided care for residents and, as a result, your family member contracted the virus, we may have a case under chapter 74 of Civil Practice and Remedy.
What Happens If the Nursing Home was Negligent?
COVID-19 is a highly infectious virus that is particularly dangerous to older adults and those with underlying conditions. Sadly, the statistics above show how the virus has wreaked havoc on our nation’s long-term care facilities. As the number of deaths rises, nursing homes are seeking immunity from lawsuits in an effort to protect their own interests. No one predicted the scale of the coronavirus tragedy here in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world. However, vulnerable elderly individuals living in nursing homes have been hit the hardest by the pandemic and deserve justice.
Can I Sue a Nursing Home for COVID-19?
Chances are you have a lot of questions right now regarding COVID-19 and your rights. Thousands of American nursing home residents and staff were wrongfully exposed to the contagious virus and deserve answers. If the nursing home acted negligently by failing to protect residents in any way, they could be held accountable. Understaffing is an ongoing issue faced by these facilities, as are inadequate infection control measures. While these areas are regulated, we have seen a great deal of oversight, which is evident by the coronavirus outbreak. As mentioned earlier, many nursing homes are seeking immunity from lawsuits like medical malpractice, wrongful death, and nursing home abuse. If a nursing home fails to provide residents with the general standard of care and is negligent in the management of COVID-19, they may face a lawsuit. Nursing homes should be held accountable for the following:
- Failing to follow guidelines to properly screen workers
- Failing to restrict outside visitors
- Failing to cancel group activities
- Not informing residents and their family members of the presence of COVID-19 in the facility
- Failing to wear protective gear
- Ignoring test results
- Failing to report positive test results accurately
Following the initial outbreak at a Washington state nursing home, other long-term care facilities did not take sensible measures to protect residents, putting them at extreme risk. There continue to be discrepancies in the news and media regarding how many people have been impacted, including those residing in assisted living facilities.
Protecting Nursing Home Residents During an Outbreak
Nursing homes are required by state and federal law to follow the regulations set in place pertaining to the treatment of residents. This includes providing them with a safe and healthy environment. When these facilities fail to do this, it creates a potentially dangerous environment that may allow viruses to spread and harm residents. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has outlined instructions for nursing homes in the time of COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the disease and loss of life. Here’s a look at some of the measures long-term care facilities should take, according to the CDC:
- Ensuring all staff members and residents have access to personal protective gear (PPE), including masks and gloves
- Ensuring the proper disposal of all protective gear
- Reinforcing hygiene policies
- Requiring staff to stay home if they are sick or experiencing symptoms
- Adding hand sanitizer to every resident’s room
- Stop allowing volunteers for the time being
- Screen staff at the beginning and end of each shift for fever or respiratory illness
- Screen and test residents for fever or respiratory illness
- Isolate any resident who tests positive for COVID-19
- Communicate all changes with residents and their family members and continue to update them
Dallas Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If your loved one was living in a nursing home and tested positive for COVID-19, contact Shamieh Law today. Our experienced team of Dallas medical malpractice lawyers is keeping a close eye on what’s happening with these facilities and the virus. We understand you have questions and will do everything we can to answer them. Contact us today for a consultation.