Contact us today to schedule a free initial confidential consultation: (302) 777-1000

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse—Dehydration and Malnutrition

Dehydration and Malnutrition in Nursing Homes

According to a published report, a vast number of nursing home residents—up to one-third—don’t get enough to eat or drink on a daily basis. The report, released by the National Citizen’s Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, found the situation to be critical in some facilities, with up to 85% of residents at some homes experiencing malnutrition or dehydration.

Experts express serious concerns in the light of the report, citing the relationship between diet, hydration and other conditions, such as bedsores, depression and cognitive impairment.

The study identified a number of factors contributing to the problem:

  • Nursing homes are chronically understaffed—Nursing homes are for-profit businesses, pure and simple. For most, the bottom line is far more important than resident care. As a result, nursing homes tend to cut costs on personnel expenses. The study cited a 93% annual turnover in nursing home employees, and expressed alarm that the average caregiver had responsibility for 12 to 15 people during a meal, as opposed to the recommended two to three residents.
  • Most nursing homes do not provide a high level of individualized care—Patients are rarely monitored to ensure that they are taking in adequate nutrition and liquids. Often, nursing home residents experience depression, which can suppress appetite. Without individual care, many residents can go long periods of time with little food.
  • Most nursing home residents have extremely limited choices for food
  • Many residents have poor dental health, which makes it painful or difficult for them to chew or digest food.

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

For a private meeting, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no cost for your first consultation.

Motor Vehicle Accidents Involving Drunk Drivers

It’s the holiday season and everyone is filled with good cheer. Unfortunately, too many of them are also getting behind the wheel of a car. Statistics show that traffic volumes go up dramatically in the days leading up to Christmas, and that alcohol can be involved in up to 40% of holiday traffic accidents. And with motor vehicle accidents involving drunk drivers, there can be some complicating factors.

Does The Other Driver Have Insurance?

The reality is that many drunk drivers are repeat offenders. If a driver has a prior conviction for driving under the influence, he or she may find it cost prohibitive to get more than the basic insurance coverage, or may simply choose to drive without insurance at all. Of course, when you are hurt in a car accident, the first place you tend to look for recovery is the negligent party’s insurer.

If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, or only had coverage for property damage, you can look to your own policy to see if you have coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists. Most insurers offer this type of coverage, but typically as an optional rider on your policy. If you have it, it will provide an additional amount of coverage for personal injuries you have suffered.

Another option is to look for another potentially liable party. For example, if there were roadway defects, you might be able to seek damages from the municipality responsible for maintaining the roads. Also, if you can show that the drunk driver was served alcohol at a bar, tavern, restaurant or even a private party, you may be able to pursue compensation from the party who served the alcohol, under what is known as social host liability, or dram shop liability.

Contact Our Office

To arrange a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.

Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse—Bedsores

Nursing Home Neglect — Bedsores: Causes and Treatment

A recent study found that nearly half a million hospital or nursing home patients suffer from bedsores every year. The sad reality is that bedsores, also known as decubitis ulcers, are almost entirely preventable.

The Causes of Bedsores

Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, are lesions that develop on the skin. They are typically caused by a combination of any of the following: unrelieved pressure, friction, humidity, temperature, medication and age. A person can develop bedsores on any part of the body, but they are typically found at those bony places that make regular or continual contact with a bed or mattress, such as the buttocks, hip, spine, pelvis (sacrum), elbows, knees and ankles. Though called bedsores, they are not limited to people in beds, but can affect anyone who is confined to a structure, such as a wheelchair or other type of chair.

A bedsore results when pressure temporarily impedes the flow of blood to the skin in the affected area. Anytime the flow of blood is cut off to the skin, there is the potential for injury. What will initially appear as a red patch may begin to blister. In the worst cases, the skin may be damaged to the extent that bone or muscle is exposed.

Avoiding Bedsores

Researchers have long known that the most effective way to avoid bedsores is to regularly relieve pressure on potentially affected areas. Experts recommend that persons confined to a bed or wheelchair change their position a minimum of every two hours. Special mattresses can relieve pressure as well.

Studies also show that friction—dragging a patient across sheets, for example—exacerbates bedsores. This should be avoided.

Other recommendations to minimize the risk of bedsores include:

  • Avoiding chemical exposure, such as antiseptics, hydrogen peroxide, iodine and other substances
  • Good nutrition and hydration
  • Daily exercise
  • Proper daily hygiene

Contact Our Office

We aggressively protect the rights of senior citizens who have been victims of carelessness or negligence in a long-term care facility. To arrange a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.

Medical Malpractice—Failure to Diagnose

When a Medical Professional Fails to Diagnose an Illness or Injury

When there’s something wrong with you, you count on medically trained professionals to take the right steps to accurately diagnose your problem, so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Unfortunately, far too often, doctors and nurses neglect the telltale signs of a disease or fail to order routine tests that could provide the answers you need. If your condition has gone untreated or you have suffered in any way because of the failure of a medical caregiver to properly diagnose a condition, you have a right to pursue damages for negligence.

Most claims involving medical injury are based on a legal theory of negligence. Under the law, everyone, including doctors and nurses, has a duty to act reasonably in the performance of their job. With doctors, the standard is actually a little higher. Doctors are held to a standard of care equal to that of someone with equal training and experience, practicing in the same area.

With respect to diagnosis of an injury or illness, your doctor would be expected to use the same level of care in diagnosing your malady as would another doctor with similar training and experience in the same geographic location. That may include:

  • Conducting a detailed examination to identify all potential causes
  • Ordering necessary tests
  • Referring you to specialists, if necessary
  • Bringing in experts to ensure proper evaluation of test results, if necessary
  • Seeking a second opinion, if appropriate

Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose often arises with respect to illnesses, such as cancer, blood afflictions or heart disease. It can, however, also involve a failure to diagnose bone, connective tissue or muscle damage.

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

For a private meeting with a medical malpractice attorney, please contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no cost for your first consultation.

Medical Malpractice—Surgical Errors

Surgical Mistakes—Your Right to Damages When a Surgical Team Goofs

It seems that regardless of the number of surgical errors that regularly occur—regardless of the procedures seemingly put in place to protect patients in surgery—doctors and nurses still get distracted, fail to pay attention and far too often make mistakes during surgery that cause unnecessary pain and suffering.

The Standard of Care in a Surgical Procedure

Under common law negligence principles in the United States, every person has a duty to act at all times as a reasonable person. This includes during the performance of a job. For a surgeon, the bar is even higher—a surgeon must abide by the standards of a person with similar training and experience working in the same type of surgical practice in the same geographic area. Accordingly, a doctor who performs surgery must typically exercise the care of a skilled surgeon.

In most medical malpractice cases, expert testimony is required to demonstrate the appropriate standard of care.

The Common Types of Surgical Negligence

There are a number of errors that can occur during surgery:

  • A surgeon may simply be careless in proximity to other bodily organs, nicking a spleen or other organ, for example
  • A surgeon may ignore patient vitals, such as blood pressure, causing injury
  • A surgeon may neglect to take proper precautions to sterilize and sanitize, leading to unnecessary infection
  • A surgeon may conduct the wrong type of surgery on a patient, or may operate on the wrong body part
  • A surgical tool or implement may be left in a body cavity

Contact Our Office

To arrange a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.

 

Smartphone Use While Driving

Recently, a New York state prosecutor, Kathleen Rice, unveiled a program designed to prevent drivers from texting and driving (aka distracted driving). She is also hoping that insurance companies and smartphone manufacturers will begin to offer incentives for the adherence of text-and-drive laws.

In a press release, she said:

  • texting while driving is equally as dangerous as drunken driving – and more common among the youth
  • she urged smartphone manufacturers to incorporate technology into their devices that would prevent users from texting while operating a motor vehicle
  • she also asked the larger insurance companies to offer rates at a discount for persons whose devices contained the aforementioned technology (or a third-party app that serve the save function of prohibiting texting while driving)

Ms. Rice also stated that her office will seek to impose sentences that require this text-blocking technology for any individual that is convicted of any violation involving texting while driving. She is also asking law enforcement officers to cite any motorist who violates the law against texting while driving, even if the motorist is already facing more serious charges, such as reckless driving, etc.

Driving While Texting in Delaware – Distracted Driving Laws

Delaware state has extremely tough distracted driving laws – with enforcement being equally stringent. DE’s bans cover all drivers, as well as bans that only refer to bus drivers and novice drivers:

  • All drivers are banned from using hand-held cell phones
  • Bus drivers are prohibited from using both hands-free and hand-held cell phones
  • Novice drivers, meaning drivers with either a learner’s permit or an intermediate license, are also prohibited from using both hands-free and hand-held cell phones
  • Text messaging – ALL drivers are banned from texting messaging while driving. This includes text message composition AND sending text messages while driving.

Motor Vehicle Accident Practice at the Law Office of Michael J. Hood

We take cases involving all types of serious and catastrophic injuries, from brain and spinal cord trauma to road rash or burns, scarring and disfigurement, broken bones, paralysis, and amputation or loss of limb. We also represent individuals and family members in wrongful death actions arising out of a motor vehicle accident.

We will help you pursue full and fair compensation for all your losses, including lost wages and income, the costs of medical care, physical pain and suffering, and loss of companionship or consortium.

Contact Our Law Office Today

To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Our office is open Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but we will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We will travel to your home or the hospital if necessary.

WIlmington Deleware – Drunk Driving and Motor Vehicle Crashes

Allen Belile, 48, of Wilmington, DE, stands accused of injuring three people in a late-night crash last week in Middletown, DE. When Mr. Belile attempted passing a tractor-trailer, he veered into northbound lanes, and proceeded to strike another vehicle.

Mr. Belile, who was allegedly under the influence during the time of the crash, was also injured and taken to a nearby hospital. This was Mr. Belile’s 4th DUI charge.

Three injured adult crash victims were taken to Christiana Hospital Trauma Center. Their injuries were serious, but not critical.

Allen Belile is facing several charges once released from the hospital, including:

  • One count of 4th Offense Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
  • Two counts of Vehicular Assault 1st degree
  • One count of Reckless Driving Alcohol Related
  • One count of Failure to have Proof of Motor Vehicle Insurance

The office of Michael J. Hood, LLC offers full-service legal representation to anyone who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving a drunk driver, whether as the driver of another vehicle, a passenger in any car or a bystander. We represent individuals who were passengers in the drunk driver’s car, handling injuries suffered in collisions, rollovers and single-vehicle accidents. Often times, drunk drivers are repeat offenders and, could have been driving with very little or no insurance.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Our office is open Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but we will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We will travel to your home or the hospital if necessary.

Workers’ Compensation Task Force Brings HB 373 To Pass

In late June, the Delaware state Senate passed workers’ compensation legislation in order to lessen the burden on DE businesses by halting the sizable workers’ compensation rate increases. The bipartisan Delaware Workers’ Compensation Task Force, which was created on January 30, 2013 by the Delaware General Assembly and Governor Jack Markell, developed HB 373 over the last year and a half. HB 373 also passed in the DE House in early June.

Delaware employers have been seriously concerned with increasing workers’ compensation rates for several years. House Bill 373 aims to make the system more streamlined and efficient, resulting in relief for DE businesses who have endured premium increases in recent years.

When assembled, the Workers’ Compensation Task Force was charged with:

  • Reviewing Delaware workers’ compensation law
  • The impact of the 2007 workers’ compensation premiums amendments
  • Reasons for recent increases in premiums
  • If the need for any additional changes to statutes, regulations, or practices is required in order to control premium growth (which has risen each calendar year since 2006, and is now the third most expensive in the US)

House Bill 373 recommendations focused almost exclusively on medical costs, as they make up 65-70% of every dollar spent on workers’ compensation premiums in DE, and are 100% responsible for the increase in premiums. Reimbursements paid to health care providers for workers’ compensation patient treatments were significantly reduced. Some DE treatment reimbursement amounts were found to sometimes be 3-5 times greater than the same procedure in other states.

The Task Force’s findings led to them suggesting:

  • Insurance carriers – heightening the oversight
  • Medical costs – stricter control
  • A new rating organization consideration

Workers’ Compensation Injuries

Due to DE workers’ compensation ‘belt-tightening’, it is even more imperative that you seek an experienced attorney when filing your workers’ comp claim. In the event of a workplace injury, you will need comprehensive counsel. We will assist you in gathering all relevant evidence to support your claim and will assist you in the preparation of all required documents.

Contact Our Office

At our office, every client is entitled to a free case evaluation. To set up a private meeting with an experienced Delaware workers’ compensation attorney, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Our office is open Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but we will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We will travel to your home or the hospital if necessary.

Michael J. Hood represents premises liability accident & personal injury victims in the cities of Wilmington, Newark, Middleton, Seaford, Laurel, Milford, Brookside, Claymont, Pike Creek, Wilmington Manor, Elsmere, Edgemoor, New Castle, Chester, Springfield, West Chester, Broomall, Woodlyn, Elkton and Pennsville. Also serving New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County in Delaware as well as Delaware county, Chester county and Philadelphia county in PA.

Hospitals and the Threat of Superbugs

Elsmere Delaware Medical Malpractice Attorney

Due to the wide use of antibiotics over the last hundred years or so, dangerous drug-resistant strains of bacteria are now a common threat in hospitals and emergency rooms across the country. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug-resistant bacteria infects more than two million people nationwide and is responsible for at least 23,000 deaths. While many people may have heard of necrotizing fasciitis, commonly referred to as “flesh eating bacteria”, there are a number of other bacteria that represent an increasing threat to the health of patients in hospitals and emergency rooms.

Drug Resistant Bacteria – A New Threat in Hospitals and ERs

At the moment, there are primarily six different superbugs that represent a serious threat to patients:

  • MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) – often associated with urinary tract, bone, and joint infections. The mortality rate for MRSA is roughly 35%.
  • Resistant Streptococcus (Strep A) – Also known as flesh eating bacteria, the morality rate for Strep A is roughly 28%.
  • Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus – Especially dangerous – roughly a 40% mortality rate – if it enters an open wound or the urinary tract.
  • Resistant Klebsiella Pneumonia – Associated with NDM-1. Results in difficult to treat blood infections, surgical site infections, and meningitis. The mortality rate is roughly 50%.
  • Resistant Pseudomonas Aeruginosa – Typically enters through a cut or break in the skin, leading to kidney and blood infections. A serious threat to cancer patients, the mortality rate of this bug is roughly 50%.
  • Resistant Acinetobacter Baumannii – This bug represents a big threat to people with a suppressed immune system. As a result, patients undergoing an invasive procedure at a hospital are particularly vulnerable. The mortality for this superbug is roughly 80%.

Hygiene – The Key to Preventing Superbug Infections

The best way to prevent an infection from a superbug is through hygiene. While hospitals often undertake efforts to prevent infection, the threat of these superbugs demands that hospitals take additional measures. Failure on the part of doctors or nurses to wash their hands thoroughly can increase or cause an infection. Additionally, healthcare staff must properly clean and sterilize catheters, ventilators, and other medical utensils to minimize or prevent superbug infections.

When proper hygiene is not practiced, hospitals can be held financially liable for injuries and deaths that happen as a result.

Contact Elsmere Medical Malpractice Attorney Michael Hood

When a superbug infection happens, it’s not uncommon for hospitals to claim there are risks associated with every medical procedure or hospitalization. While true in principle, this side steps the issue of whether or not proper preventative measures were taken.

If you’ve suffered medical complications due to a superbug infection, contact medical malpractice attorney Michael Hood today to discuss your case. Contact our office online or call us at (302) 777-1000. There is no charge for your first visit.

We’ve Moved!

Attorney Michael J. Hood Has a New Location!

The law office of Michael J. Hood has moved to a new location:

The office of Michael J. Hood, LLC, we have provided comprehensive legal counsel to personal injury victims in Delaware and Pennsylvania since 1982. We understand the uncertainty and anxiety that come in the aftermath of a personal injury. We will work hard to make certain that you have accurate and up-to-date information at all times. We will learn as much as we can about your accident and injuries so that we can give you a timely and realistic appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of your case, the reasonable value of your claim and your chances of success.

We offer a free initial consultation. For a confidential meeting, contact us online.

Practice Areas

Contact Michael J. Hood

Michael J. Hood represents premises liability accident & personal injury victims in the cities of Wilmington, Newark, Middleton, Seaford, Laurel, Milford, Brookside, Claymont, Pike Creek, Wilmington Manor, Elsmere, Edgemoor, New Castle, Chester, Springfield, West Chester, Broomall, Woodlyn, Elkton and Pennsville. Also serving New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County in Delaware as well as Delaware county, Chester county and Philadelphia county in PA.