According to the Washington Post, the Department of Justice has asked for information on COVID-19 infection rates in four states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. The Department of Justice is investigating whether orders in these states might have resulted in the deaths of nursing home residents. Critics of the Department of Justice investigation note that the order targets Democratic-led states, leading some to believe that the investigation might be politically motivated. Is South Carolina next in the investigation? What does this mean for you if your loved one fell ill or died of COVID-19 while in a nursing home? The Louthian Law Firm is a Columbia, South Carolina nursing home abuse law firm that is watching this situation unfold.
The Department of Justice is specifically investigating whether orders in those states that required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 positive residents might have led to outbreaks in nursing homes. South Carolina may have had similar issues. According to The State, it isn’t clear whether hospitals have been properly testing patients before releasing them to nursing homes, and health department officials have expressed concern that this practice could potentially be fueling outbreaks in nursing homes. Currently, hospitals are not required to test patients before releasing them to nursing homes. In some instances, patients tested positive after they were admitted to the nursing home. Other officials have expressed concerns that because hospitals aren’t doing this kind of testing, the numbers of people reported infected in nursing homes may not accurately represent the numbers of people actually infected. According to The State, one third of all South Carolina deaths involve patients in nursing homes. Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to the virus, because they have underlying health conditions that can lead to the development of more severe illness or death.
What does all this mean for concerned families, or for the families of those who got sick or passed away? For one, it means that families have the right to ask questions. Were patients admitted from hospitals without adequate testing? Were these patients allowed to stay in contact with other residents or were they quarantined? Does the nursing home have procedures in place for patients released from the hospital into the nursing home? Does the nursing home have adequate disease-prevention measures—period? If you have concerns, you are not alone. Many families are seeking answers after their loved ones passed away or got sick in a nursing home. The nursing home abuse lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm in Columbia, South Carolina may be able to help you.
Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act and the DOJ Investigation
The Department of Justice is performing its investigation under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. What is this act and what does this act mean for your loved one who is in a nursing home? Under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act individuals living in nursing homes and other institutions, like prisons or mental health centers have the right to protections provided to other members of the community under the Constitution, and they shouldn’t be denied these rights. They have the right to safety, clean water and food, and proper treatment. Conditions in these institutions should be safe and shouldn’t be venues that lead to poor health. In recent weeks and months, nursing homes haven’t always been the safest place to be for elderly and sick residents.
The Department of Justice is investigating whether the admission of people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 led to greater numbers of infections or whether these orders may have placed more people in danger in these nursing homes. When it comes to your loved one in a nursing home, he or she has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. If conditions in the nursing home violate your loved one’s right to dignity, respect, and basic civil rights, you and your family may have the right to seek damages from the nursing home for nursing home abuse. The Louthian Law Firm is a nursing home abuse law firm in Columbia, South Carolina that works with families who believe their loved one suffered abuse in a nursing home setting. Because families have not been able to visit as freely during the pandemic, and because some nursing homes saw a breakdown of communication with families, these nursing homes have an even greater responsibility to be transparent about the treatment of residents in these facilities. Have questions? The nursing home abuse lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm in Columbia, South Carolina may be able to help you. Reach out to our firm today or connect with a nursing home abuse attorney at the Louthian Law Firm by checking us out at USAttorneys.com.