Nursing Homes in Indiana and Across the Country are Overwhelmed by COVID-19
By: Amina A. Young, Attorney
On Friday, April 10, 2020, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) Commissioner Kristina Box confirmed that twenty-four residents at Bethany Pointe Health Campus in Anderson, Indiana had passed away. Sixteen of the residents who died had tested positive for COVID-19. The other eight showed similar symptoms. Bethany Pointe, owned by Trilogy Health Services, LLC, is one of many nursing homes across the country facing coronavirus outbreaks.
Health care experts and officials have long stated that the elderly are likely one of the most vulnerable populations to the coronavirus due to compromised immune systems and/or underlying conditions.
On March 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to take steps to assess and improve their preparedness for responding to COVID-19. The CDC noted nursing homes are among the highest at risk of being affected by COVID-19 because of their “congregate nature and the residents served (e.g., older adults often with underlying chronic medical conditions).” In its guidance, the CDC recommended rapid implementation of active screening of residents and health care personnel for fever and respiratory symptoms, restricting all visitation except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end of life situations, and implementing sick leave policies and other occupational health considerations.
The CDC also released a Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Preparedness Checklist for Nursing Homes and other Long-Term Care Settings, which identifies key areas that long-term care facilities should consider in their COVID-19 planning. The CDC’s checklist includes a comprehensive communication plan for facilities to ensure that they are communicating with staff, residents, and their families regarding the status and impact of COVID-19 in the facility.
On its website, Trilogy Health Services declares, in responding to the COVID-19 virus, it is “following guidance from the CDC, CMS, and state officials” and is “taking extra precautions over the coming weeks and months to ensure that [its] campuses remain guarded against the spread of viral infections.”
However, a chief complaint of Bethany Pointe residents’ families is that they aren’t being kept informed on the status of the facility’s overall impact from COVID-19, or with regard to their loved one in particular. Many families of Bethany Pointe residents state they were not even so much as notified when the first known cases were confirmed in the nursing home, and before they knew it or had a chance to respond to the situation, their loved one was showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Residents in nursing homes are members of our community and should be given the same respect and access to resources that the rest of the community has access to during a crisis. Families of nursing home residents should be kept timely informed on the overall status of the facility’s impact to COVID-19, and on their loved one’s health.
If your loved one is residing in a nursing home or long-term care facility, and you are concerned about the facility’s handling of its response to COVID-19, one action you can take is to file a complaint or report an incident to the ISDH. Complaint forms can be found on the Indiana State Department of Health’s website.
COVID-19 presents unchartered territory. This article is not legal advice. To discuss the specific facts of your situation, contact us.
How to Help Sexually Abused Children Suffering from PTSD and Other Psychological Injuries
By: Gregory L. Laker, Attorney
Tragically, we have seen an alarming increase in the sexual abuse of Indiana children recently. We shook our head in amazement when we read about the depraved sexual escapades of Jared Fogle, the formerly likeable Subway pitchman recently sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. More recently, an investigation into allegations of child pornography and child exploitation led to the abrupt resignation of Park Tudor basketball coach, Kyle Cox. It seems like every week we are reading about new allegations that involve one of our children’s teachers, coaches or mentors.
CDC Report: Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury on Public Health
By: Daniel S. Chamberlain, Attorney
Since 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been charged with reducing the rate of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States. Reports released this month by the CDC in the Journal of Head Trauma and Rehabilitation offer insight into the rates of TBI for both adults and children and recommend continued surveillance of incidents along with a strategic plan to measure and reduce the public health burden of TBI.
Recent rates of TBI
New Resource for Families Living with Traumatic Brain Injury
By: Daniel S. Chamberlain, Attorney
I spend a great deal of my time helping victims of traumatic brain injury and their families fight for justice. My work in this area of law has given me the opportunity to meet experienced physicians, neuropsychologists, neurologists, therapists and many other professionals who treat people who have suffered brain injuries. I believe my role as an advocate extends beyond the courtroom as I often share these resources with clients and potential clients who are seeking help. I am also proud to serve as the Chairman of the Board for the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) which was founded in 1980 to help survivors of brain injury and their caregivers. BIAA is a non-profit organization that offers educational programs and advocacy within state and federal legislatures to advance the care and support to victims of traumatic brain injury.
SPOTLIGHT ON SAFETY: Another MegaBus crash
by: Daniel S. Chamberlain, Attorney
MegaBus, a regional passenger bus carrier based out of Chicago, crashed this morning south of Indianapolis. Numerous serious injuries were reported. MegaBus operates as six separate entities spread across the United States, but also touts an international presence in Canada and Europe. The Chicago based affiliate operates 42 behemoth double decker buses soaring over 13 feet in the air, with a passenger capacity of 81 people.
Five Questions Every Parent Should Ask Before Selecting an In-Home Day Care
by: Edward B. Mulligan V, Attorney
Since 2009, at least 22 children have died while in the custody of an Indiana-based day care. Of those 22 deaths, 16 occurred in unlicensed day cares. And those are just the reported deaths; the actual number is likely higher as deaths occurring in unlicensed day cares often go unreported.
One of these deaths occurred on January 4, 2013, in an in-home day care run by Stacey Cox and her daughter in Carmel, Indiana. That morning, Cox placed a 5-month-old boy in a portable crib and left him unattended. The boy was later found dead. Later that day, both Cox and her daughter tested positive for marijuana.
FDA Digging Up Dirt on Antibacterial Soap
by: Lynn A. Toops, Attorney
The FDA recently announced a proposed rule change to make manufacturers of antibacterial soap prove that these products work as advertised. This move comes after research studies have indicated that Triclosan, a common active ingredient in antibacterial products, is no more effective than soap and water at ridding of germs and it might be dangerous. A concern is that many of these antibacterial soap makers advertise that their products are more effective than soap and water.
Fungal Meningitis Outbreak: One Year Later
by: Edward B. Mulligan V, Attorney
The United States witnessed the largest outbreak of health-care associated infection in history last year. Methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) injections produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) and shipped to pain clinics and hospitals were later found to contain E. rostratum and A. fumigatus and are blamed for causing hundreds of people to become sick, and in some cases, die. To date, the CDC has received 751 reports of confirmed fungal meningitis and other infections associated with the outbreak as well as 64 reports of death. One CDC report estimates that as many as 13,000 people have been exposed to the contaminated steroid injections linked to the outbreak.
Can a Non-Patient File a Medical Malpractice Claim?
by: David J. Cutshaw, Attorney
Medical Malpractice Claims by non-patients–are they permitted in Indiana? The law in Indiana generally requires there to be a patient/physician relationship before a medical malpractice claim can be filed against a doctor. A recent case decided by the Indiana Supreme Court, however, recognized that in certain situations, a person may sue a doctor even if he or she was not the doctor’s patient.
3-D Printing, Medical Devices, and the FDA
A considerable amount of buzz has surrounded the use of 3-D printing technology lately. Forbes magazine recently reported on Wall Street investors’ increasing interests in 3-D printing companies and the anticipated growth of the industry. Medical science has also reported stories of lives being saved or improved by the use of 3-D printed medical devices. In one case, the life of a 3-month old boy with a rare bronchial condition was saved by the use of a 3-D printed stent. Other medical devices that have been manufactured using 3-D printers include prosthetics, skull implants, and hearing aids.