Gov. Ron DeSantis Introduces New Elder Neglect GuidelinesIn light of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing home deaths skyrocketed. Deaths were from more than just those who contracted the virus. Many factors took a toll on the patients. Outbreaks hit hard. Doctors were infected, as were nurses and patients. Staff members were calling in sick, and those who were left found themselves in overwhelming situations. Patients who were infected required constant care and attention, forcing staff to leave otherwise healthy patients neglected.
Nursing homes that were hit with COVID-19 outbreaks closed their doors. Friends and family members were unable to visit their loved ones. Some of the patients were withering away with treatable conditions. With no one from the outside checking in on them, they were left to struggle alone.
The amount of non-COVID related deaths has risen during the pandemic. Estimates show that tens of thousands of uninfected patients died. Some figures indicate that since March of 2020, the beginning of the pandemic in the U.S., one in three nursing home deaths was unrelated to COVID-19. Statistics easily show that homes hit by the pandemic had more non-COVID deaths than homes that avoided outbreaks.
On March 29, 2021, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that he would be signing a new bill designed to protect healthcare facilities, businesses, schools and other institutions from liability cases. According to DeSantis, healthcare facilities cannot be held liable for injuries if they were closely following COVID-19 protocol.
Understaffed nursing homes can still claim that they were following procedures to the best of their ability. Managers were working with the staff that they had, and nurses and orderlies were following precautions to the best of their ability. As long as they were meeting the basic needs of patients, the staff and management have a credible defense for their actions. [NT3]
As it stands, only claims of “gross negligence” can be justifiable grounds for a lawsuit. Any quick internet search on the topic will reveal nightmarish stories. Patients who had been thriving died of dehydration. Residents were left in soiled diapers with skin peeling off underneath. Elders were left unfed, unwashed, and unseen. Simple procedures like routine visits from dentists stopped. Patients were unable to get their dentures fixed, leading to injuries, infections, and malnourishment. These are extreme examples that could be classified as “gross negligence.”
These new regulations mean that even if your loved one suffered during the pandemic, the staff can be protected under the new law. As long as the basic needs of patients was being met, the home can claim that they were doing their best and caring for patients the best they could under the circumstances.
A good lawyer is keeping up with these new developments. If you’re unsure about whether or not you can bring forth a suit, contact a lawyer. An attorney can listen to your case and help you determine if your claims are justified under these new restrictions. If so, your lawyer will craft a reasonable argument, helping to fight for the justice you and your family deserve.
If you lost an elder loved one due to gross negligence, talk to a lawyer about a wrongful death case. A wrongful death suit is just like any other personal injury case, only it is filed on behalf of someone whose injuries resulted in their death. It can be filed by the deceased’s executor or by someone named in the deceased’s estate. You can recover damages for pain and suffering and for income that was lost because of the person’s death.
If you or someone you know was the victim of neglect, call (850) 764-0383 or contact us online today. There is no risk in speaking to us, and consultations are free.