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Orange County Wrongful Death Law Blog

Nursing home neglect allegedly ignored by owners

Entrusting the care of a loved one to a nursing home or other residential care facility is rarely easy, and family members typically expect that staff will treat their loved one with respect while providing the best care possible. When residents are neglected or abused, people in California usually expect the owner of the facility to be open and honest about these acts of nursing home neglect. Sadly, when it comes to abuse, there often appears to be a culture of cover-ups.

Top officials at an out-of-state nursing home were accused of purposely hiding instances of abuse at its facility. Between the years of 2011 and 2014, the local Department of Health cited the home for a number of alleged deficiencies. Perhaps one of the most shocking included a citation for violating the residents' rights to not be abused. In total, the nursing home racked up 37 deficiencies during those years.

California's medical record index may lead to medical malpractice

Electronic medical records may indeed be the way of the future, but the system is far from perfect. Hackers have already managed to steal medical records from at least one insurance company in a targeted cyberattack. However, cyberattacks are not the only things that put California patients at risk for record-related medical malpractice. One insurance company's voluntary actions may have compromised the safety of millions of patients.

The California Integrated Data Exchange was created by two popular insurance companies and was funded by the premiums of policyholders. At a cost of $80 million, the Cal INDEX is intended to make electronic sharing of records between various medical professionals seamless. Unfortunately, Cal INDEX may not be able to perform as intended.

Victim's son said nursing home neglect contributed to death

A series of oversights and mistakes allegedly led to serious negligence during the final stages of a woman's life. Recently transferred to a nursing home, her son says that the home and its staff were aware of his mother's health issues and related medical care. Sadly, he believes that nursing home neglect contributed to a series of devastating infections and injuries that resulted in her death only days after arriving at the facility. Families in California who have witnessed similar wrongdoing can possibly benefit from observing how the victim's son handled the situation.

An ambulance first brought the 82-year-old woman to the nursing home on June 5, 2013. At the time, records indicate that she had both Alzheimer's and dementia, hypertension, aspiration pneumonia and a handful of other illnesses. Long-term care was necessary to help monitor her formula feedings that she received through a feeding tube.

Police say wrong-way car accident killed driver, 3 others

A devastating wrong-way accident left four people dead is still under investigation as California authorities try to determine what factors might have influenced the wreck. The driver that allegedly caused the car accident was one of the victims. The other three victims were all in the same vehicle at the time of accident.

At approximately 2:30 a.m., the driver of a small motor vehicle was headed eastbound in the west lanes of the highway. Authorities had already spotted the wrong-way vehicle and planned to intervene, but tragedy struck before they could carry out their plan. The smaller vehicle collided with an oncoming pickup truck and sent it veering out of its lane, causing it to be hit a second time by another car. According to police who witnessed the crash, the second collision caused the pickup to catch fire.

Bill targets referral agencies to prevent nursing home neglect

Long-term care facilities in California provide an invaluable service to the elderly and their families. While many family members may want to care for their loved ones well into their old age, specific medical needs often prevent them from providing needed care. However, referral agencies that are supposed to help families place their loved ones in the most appropriate home possible may not be looking out for the residents best interests, and improper placements can potentially lead to nursing home neglect

The Senate Judiciary Committee is reviewing a bill that would protect one of California's most vulnerable populations. The bill would tweak how current referral agencies operate, requiring them to disclose any interest -- financial or otherwise -- that they may have with certain nursing homes or other care facilities. Many proponents of the bill believe that potential residents have a right to know if a referral agency receives a commission for placing a person with a certain home.

Bayer may have concealed side effects of possible defective drug

A number of women in California use birth control for various reasons, but according to the FDA, one popular form of contraception may not be as safe as previously thought. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Inc. is under investigation by the FDA, following allegations that the company might not have been honest about certain clinical trial results. The altered results may reveal that Essure is actually a defective drug

Although Bayer continues to defend the safety and efficacy of Essure, there are many who disagree. According to the FDA, Essure can cause potentially catastrophic side effects, including perforated bowels. The device -- which is supposed to remain in place in a woman's fallopian tubes -- has also been found to migrate to other parts of the body. While Bayer did disclose 22 incidents of perforation, there were apparently an additional 168 of which they were aware. Additionally, Bayer allegedly held on to over 16,000 Essure-related complaints without ever revealing this information to outside sources.

Truck accidents responsible for significant number of deaths

In America's current economic and consumer climate, tractor-trailers and other large trucks play a critical role in moving goods across the country. For example, with the aid of large trucks, residents on the East Coast can enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables from California during times of the year when the climate does not allow them to grow their own locally. Sadly, many drivers behind the wheels of these types of vehicles ignore important safety standards that are designed to keep everyone on the road as safe as possible. When those standards are ignored, serious injuries can result from truck accidents

Sadly, in wrecks involving semi trucks and passenger vehicles, it is usually the trucks that typically fare much better. According to data from 2012, in wrecks involving one large truck and one passenger vehicle, the resulting deaths overwhelming occurred in the passenger vehicle, with truck drivers only accounting for 4 percent of the deaths. Annually, truck accidents contribute 10 percent of all deaths resulting from wrecks.

Alleged defective bone cement prompts product liability suit

The safety and efficacy of medical treatment in the United States heavily relies on the careful crafting and engineering of proper medical tools and devices. Sadly, one woman claims that doctors utilized a defective medical device while operating on her knee, causing her to suffer serious injuries. Although the incident did occur in a medical setting, as the injury was caused by an alleged defective product and not a health care professional's negligence, victims of similar incidents in California would find the most appropriate course of action for compensation to be through a product liability suit rather than a medical malpractice claim.

Doctors initially performed total knee replacements on the woman in 2003, and according to her, the operation went off without a hitch. For the next 10 years she continued to thrive without any complications from the surgery or the implants. However, in 2013 it was apparently necessary to replace some of the knee implant components. 

Study says nursing home neglect prevalent among residents

With so many older adults in the care of long-term nursing homes in California, it is not necessarily unreasonable to expect that some type of oversight is employed to ensure the safety of residents. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, keeping track of nursing home neglect is not always that easy. 

The statistics are shocking, with about 95 percent of nursing home residents reporting either witnessing neglect or being a victim of neglect themselves. Those numbers stem from a study that was conducted in 2000. The study also found that nearly half of residents -- 44 percent -- actually reported being abused. That figure does not include incidents of abuse that went unreported.

Police investigate serious auto accident that killed 4, injured 4

The events leading up to a recent devastating accident remain unclear even as California authorities continue to investigate. The serious auto accident resulted in four fatalities, and police believe that alcohol could have possibly been a factor. The other individuals involved in the wreck survived, although one victim remains in critical condition. 

According to the family of one of the victims, she never actually knew the driver of the vehicle in which she was a passenger. She had apparently been headed to a convenience store on foot from a home that she shared with a roommate shortly before the wreck occurred. No one is quite sure how or when she ended up in a 22-year-old man's vehicle. At the time of the wreck, seven people were in the car, including her roommate.