According to a new exposé by ProPublica, an unknown number of senior citizens who die in nursing homes around the country may have died due to nursing home abuse.However, their families may never know because investigations into such a wrongful death are rare. Nursing home abuse attorneys are well aware of the serious nature of the problem. When investigating these matters, we often find that the nursing home has been active in trying to cover up the abuse, rather than conducting an honest investigation which uncovers the issue and provides useful information to improving the care they provide.
As part of the exposé, the team at ProPublicainvestigated coroner and medical examiner’s office records, and looked at the number of sudden and unusual fatalities at several nursing homes.They found in their investigations that in cases involving seniors who die suddenly, or under any kind of suspicious circumstances, there is no guarantee of any investigation into the death.ProPublicahas reached several conclusions that point to systemic flaws.
For instance, when a senior death is reported as natural, coroners and medical examiners very rarely investigate it.However, the fact is that very often, doctors make errors in judging whether a death is natural or not.In one study conducted in 2008, approximately 50% of doctors were not able to correctly identify the cause of death for an elderly patient who had died after a brain injury that occurred as a result of a fall accident.What this means is that an unknown number of deaths in nursing homes are probably being classified as natural deaths, when they are anything but.