Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Recently, the Indiana Court of Appeals, issued an opinion reversing the denial of a plaintiff’s motion to compel arbitration. The appellate court remanded a case involving a malpractice claim brought by the estate of a nursing home resident. The record indicates that the family discovered that the woman developed several medical conditions and ailments while residing at the nursing facility. These conditions led her to experience debilitating pain and suffering and become liable for significant medical expenses up until her death.

Shortly after filing a medical malpractice claim against the facility, the estate became aware of an arbitration agreement the woman signed upon admission. Upon discovery of the agreement, the estate filed a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court ultimately denied the estate’s motion to compel arbitration, finding that the claim must first proceed through the process outlined in the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act (Act).

Indiana generally has a strong policy that favors enforcing arbitration agreements. In cases where a party motions the court to compel arbitration, the court will evaluate whether the parties agreed to arbitrate the specific dispute at issue. Like Indiana contract law, disputes often rely on the parties’ intent and the construction of the terms of an agreement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been tracking the spread of COVID-19, otherwise known as the novel coronavirus, throughout the United States. The CDC has focused its efforts on protecting the population most likely to suffer death because of exposure to the virus. These vulnerable populations include individuals who have underlying medical conditions, those over 65-years-old, and those residing in long-term care facilities. A recent news report describes the rapid spread of the disease in an Indiana nursing home, making the importance of containing the virus more abundantly clear. Nursing homes that do not appropriately protect their staff and residents may face liability for any ensuing damages.

According to another news report, as of a few weeks ago, there are approximately 150 nursing homes across 27 states that have at least one resident with coronavirus. Although the figure may seem like a small fraction of the total number of nursing homes in the United States, the rates of infections are rapidly growing. The virus poses serious threats to individuals at these facilities since most are experiencing the enumerated underlying conditions making them “high-risk.”

Recently, two Johnson County nursing homes reported that a number of their residents and staff have tested positive for COVID-19. One nursing home sent a number of their residents to a local hospital after the individuals reported symptoms of the virus. Reports revealed that the number of cases at the facility rose to 15, with eight individuals in the hospital, six in isolation, and the remaining still awaiting test results. Officials reprimanded the facilities for sending residents who were experiencing mild symptoms to the hospital. They criticized the facility for overburdening the hospital system instead of treating mild cases on-site.

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