The leading Maine elder abuse attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates are dedicated to helping victims injured by the negligence of others. We have helped numerous patients and families recover compensation for harm caused by elder abuse. Our office provides caring and compassionate service to elder abuse victims throughout Maine.
Elder abuse is an alarming epidemic that affects multiple generations. As people live longer, healthier lives, it is common to have family members from three generations living in one household. But when a parent or grandparent requires long-term, around-the-clock care, it is often beyond one family’s capacity to bear. That is why families depend on nursing homes and other facilities to keep their elders safe. Unfortunately, many of these facilities betray that trust by exposing elders to abuse and neglect.
Studies project that the rate of elder abuse will rise as baby boomers age and geriatric health care providers become scarce. The job might seem easy, but elderly patients require a great deal of care. They are also the most vulnerable to neglect and mistreatment when no one is watching.
Common forms of elder abuse include:
- Physical or emotional neglect
- Frequent falls and bed sores
- Unexplained burns and bruises
- Overmedicating and a lack of monitoring
- Urinary tract infections and impacted bowls
- Medicare and insurance fraud
- Real estate and lottery schemes
- Identity theft and predatory lending
- Undue influence in estate planning
- Stealing benefit checks and financial abuse
As their health declines, nursing home patients tend to receive more and more medication. Many of these prescription drugs are meant to thin the blood or help with pain, but also have side effects. Taken in combination with other drugs, the cocktail may make the patient feel dizzy, disoriented, and constantly fatigued. Inadequate monitoring can cause hypothermia, dehydration, and severe constipation. Most elderly patients die from pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and impacted bowls as a result of preventable mistakes. Honest charting and careful monitoring can easily save a patient’s life. But understaffed facilities often “chart” progress by checking off boxes to reflect needed care that was never actually provided. Without family or visitors to check on them, the elderly are especially vulnerable to abuse by the very people they depend on. When questioned, negligent caretakers often blame the abuse on the patient’s age or medical condition.
Medical malpractice law is based on the notion that medical providers owe a duty of care to patients. In the case of elderly patients, this duty may require maintaining the patient’s hygiene and providing basic needs. Depending on the patient, this can include ensuring that the patient receives proper nutrition and hydration, has a clean catheter, or is frequently turned to avoid bedsores. While medical providers are not expected to do everything right, they are held to a high standard of care. This standard is measured by what a reasonable person in their position would do if faced with the same circumstances. If the conduct of the alleged abusers is found lacking, they are liable for any harm caused by their negligence. This may include compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. If the elder abuse resulted in the patient’s wrongful death, surviving family members are entitled to recover additional damages for the lost relationship with the deceased.
If you or someone you know is the victim of elder abuse, contact the experienced Maine elder abuse lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates today. We can help you report the abuse to the proper authorities and start investigating your case immediately. Because nursing homes and negligent parties are reluctant to document the abuse, these cases can be challenging. But our firm has the resources and legal expertise necessary to look beyond the patient’s chart and identify liable parties. Our private investigator and expert nurse specialize in finding the information necessary to prevail in elder abuse litigation. No matter how complex the case, our firm is devoted to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call 800.804.2004 for a free consultation, or contact us online.