When Is Nursing Home Abuse Not Abuse?




Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) December 24, 2013 – Nursing home abuse does have certain warning signs. However, there are situations that are not considered to be abuse, such as this case.

Arkansas Personal Injury Lawyer - Michael Smith

Arkansas Personal Injury Lawyer - Michael Smith

“This reported case is interesting for the fact that it shows what is ‘not’ abuse in a nursing home, but yet still points out what a fine line there is between what is abuse and what is not,” pointed out Michael Smith, an experienced Arkansas nursing home abuse lawyer. This case involves a nurse who was suspended from her job for allegedly denying a patient his medication during an argument.

The evidence suggested that the employee denied a patient his medicine after getting into an argument with him. In this instance, the home managers called the police, reporting verbal abuse of a resident. However, once the police were involved, the nursing director indicated the patient was not denied the proper medication, but that the time of administration of the pills was delayed while the argument ensued. “Put in that light, it was more a case of medication being delayed, not denied,” said Smith.

It appeared that the resident had already been given certain pain medications for the day, but asked for more. The man’s doctor had written provisions for the patient to have more pain medications as needed. In nursing homes, and other medical facilities, nurses are tasked with the duty of evaluating every patient that asks for more medication. Is it necessary? Is it too soon? It is too much at once? When the man asked for extra pain medications, he was told he needed to wait until the evaluation process was completed. Another staff member carried out the evaluation and he was provided with extra pills, a bit later.

“Under the circumstances, telling the man to wait until the evaluation process was completed prior to his receiving more pain killers, was following safety protocol in the best interests of the patient. What this situation does point out is that even though there is abuse in nursing home facilities, there are times when people take things too far. This appears to be such a case. It also suggests that even though it did seem to be a response out of proportion to the situation, that the home was making every effort to ensure their charges were safe and well treated,” added Smith.

Not every outcome a patient does not like that happens with a doctor or nursing home worker can be classified as abuse, and those with questions about this are well advised to seek legal counsel to determine their rights and if they do have a case to proceed.

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