Stroke Malpractice in Florida: A Nursing Home’s Legal Duties

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2016 | Medical Malpractice

Strokes send a lot of elderly Floridians to nursing homes. But what about residents who experience their very first stroke after they’ve already moved in?

It goes without say that strokes and nursing homes go hand in hand. In fact, it’s often a stroke that sends seniors to a nursing home in the first place.

For those patients, the monitoring and prevention of subsequent strokes becomes critical.

We are all at increased risk of stroke as we age, though. Those of us with loved ones living in a skilled nursing facility need to be mindful that a first-time stroke could strike without warning.

If that happens, the nursing home has a duty to respond. Sadly, they don’t always respond as they should.

What Is a Nursing Home’s Legal Duty in Response to a Stroke?

To begin with, it’s important to understand the very sensitive duty that nursing homes accept when they assume responsibility for our loved ones. The administrators there are not mere landlords, after all. These are care providers, and our expectation of care includes both prevention and rapid response.

Indeed, the nursing home’s legal duty begins with the duty to prevent. While some strokes offer no warning signs at all, the nursing team should regularly monitor each resident’s blood pressure and vital signs.

Effective management of stroke-prone conditions can go a long way. Those include ailments that are extremely common in Florida nursing homes, things like:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Circulation issues
  • Blood clotting issues
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Carotid stenosis
  • And more

Even more fundamentally, ensuring that patients receive adequate exercise while also avoiding undue emotional stress can substantially reduce the risk of stroke.

Each member of the nursing staff should be trained to recognize the signs of stroke too. (Ideally, fellow residents would receive similar training.) An immediate response is the only way to save a stroke victim’s life, and that responsibility is on the caretaker.

Essentially, then, you might enumerate the nursing home’s legal duties relating to stroke as follows:

  • Monitor the resident for signs of future stroke
  • Treat conditions known to lead to stroke
  • Ensure the resident gets regular exercise, to the greatest extent possible
  • Instruct resident on stroke-preventative behaviors
  • Exercise great care when prescribing & administering medications
  • Provide the resident with attentive and respectful care
  • Know the signs of stroke & respond immediately
  • Accurately diagnose strokes
  • Take residents’ symptoms and complaints seriously
  • Do not delay in seeking emergency treatment for any sign of a stroke
  • Provide proper post-stroke management and care

Stroke Malpractice & Florida Nursing Homes

The notion that strokes are bad luck against which victims have little hope is outdated. Medical science has made tremendous advances in the war on strokes, and an urgent and competent response can save not only the victim’s life but also his or her quality of life.

Nursing homes are in a position to identify and immediately treat strokes. These are buildings filled with and operated by medical professionals. Their primary focus is the treatment and care of elderly Americans, who are already at an elevated risk for a stroke. The staff should be trained, alert, aware, and prepared.

Sadly, stroke malpractice remains one of the biggest threats to victims’ lives in this state. The failure to immediately identify and treat a stroke can have devastating consequences. Yet, it happens all the time — in both nursing homes and hospitals.

The fact that a patient exhibited no prior warning signs is not a defense for the staff’s failure to take immediate life-saving action in response to an active stroke. Anyone can have a stroke.

We trust our loved ones to these facilities for a reason. We expect them to identify emergencies and respond accordingly. The standards of their profession demand that.

Take Action Against Stroke Malpractice in Florida Nursing Homes

If you or someone you love suffered a stroke while in a nursing home’s care, you owe it to yourself to determine whether the nursing home violated the residents bill of rights and failed to meet its legal duty of care. Our office can help you make that determination.

When you need legal help or advice, the Miami stroke malpractice attorneys at Kaire & Heffernan, LLC are here for you. Please call us the moment you need us.

Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 15 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for 4 years.