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Nursing home faces claims of negligence after Hurricane Sandy

Hospital and nursing home negligence can cause irreparable harm and injury to patients in Oregon. The potential danger to patients multiplies when a medical facility faces a disaster or emergency situation. In these cases, inadequate staffing and planning to care for patients may result in claims of hospital negligence.

The eyes of the nation have been on the northeast coast since Hurricane Sandy. Like many other homes and businesses, the hurricane badly damaged a New York nursing home. Windows were blown out and the first floor was flooded with water. Because the back-up generator was on the first floor, patients remained in the nursing home for hours in the dark — growing increasingly hungry and cold. According to staff members, the kitchen was flooded and the owners had not stocked enough food.

Interviews with nursing home employees, as well as federal, city and hospital officials, revealed the nursing home failed to provide the most basic care to its patients. It failed to have adequate staff on hand for the storm, it did not stock enough medication and it did not prepare its patients’ records in case of evacuation. Officials of the nursing home deny the allegations, but the state department of health has opened an investigation.

The situation at the nursing home got so bad, a day after the storm ambulances had to evacuate nearly 200 patients to shelters around the city. Nursing home employees did not accompany the patients in most cases. Many patients were also transported without their medical records. These are violations of state regulations.

Several family members of the patients are still trying to locate their loved ones. According to them, the nursing home has been of no help. Whether or not any actual claims of negligence will arise as a result of the nursing home’s conduct in this situation has yet to be seen. However, it serves as a reminder of the importance for medical facilities to be prepared to properly care for its patients in an emergency.

Those patients that have been injured by a Oregon nursing home’s negligence may be entitled to compensation.

Source: The New York Times, “Nursing home is faulted over care after storm,” Michael Powell and Sheri Fink, Nov. 9, 2012