A recent news report led the D.C. Department of Health to investigate a Washington, D.C. nursing home for severe neglect of a resident. The resident’s family checked her into the Capitol City Rehab nursing home to recover from a trip to the hospital. Instead, the nursing home allegedly made her condition much worse. The nursing home staff accidentally gave her medication intended for another resident, which listed the other resident’s name on it. As it turned out, this resident was severely allergic to the medication. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors had to place her in a medically induced coma for over a week to survive.
In response, the nursing home sent the family a letter apologizing for the “inconvenience.” After learning of this story, a news outlet read federal inspection reports on the nursing home, reporting multiple occasions of previous medication errors. In other instances, the nursing home simply failed to give residents their prescribed medication at all. The nursing home also failed to report this most recent incident to the health department in potential violation of D.C. law. The news outlet took its story to D.C.’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman, leading the D.C. Department of Health to investigate the nursing home. The investigation remains ongoing.
What Action Can You Take After Nursing Home Neglect?
If a medication error or other failure in care causes harm to your loved one, you may be able to bring a negligence lawsuit against the nursing home to recover monetary damages. A plaintiff who prevails on a negligence lawsuit often receives compensatory damages. This type of damages award is meant to put the injured person in the same position as if they had never experienced the adverse event. Compensatory damages often cover expenses flowing from the accident, such as medical bills, lost wages, or funeral expenses. On rare occasions, a court may also impose punitive damages, which are meant to punish the responsible party for intentional wrongdoing.
When bringing a claim against a nursing home, it is important to understand the laws around suing a nursing home for the actions of its staff members. A plaintiff may seek to hold the nursing home liable for an employee’s medication error. Maryland law allows plaintiffs to do so under a legal theory known as vicarious liability. To hold a business liable for its employee’s negligence, the employee must have acted within the scope of their employment with the business when the accident occurred. Most courts define the “scope of employment” as working during the employee’s normally scheduled hours within the employee’s designated workspace (i.e., the nursing home) and performing an action that furthers their employer’s business.
If a plaintiff can prove an employee was acting within the scope of employment when the abuse or neglect occurred, the plaintiff can potentially seek damages against the nursing home. Establishing this employer-employee relationship is the first step toward recovering damages: the plaintiff then must prove the other required elements of a negligence claim.
Has Your Loved One Suffered from Maryland Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries after Maryland nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the Schupak Law Firm today. Attorney Sidney Schupak has decades of experience representing clients in Maryland personal injury cases. The team at the Schupak Law Firm has the track record and skills to fight for the compensation you need and deserve. To learn more about how Attorney Schupak can help you or your loved one recover compensation, call our office at 240-833-3914.