Are California nursing home patients in danger from doctors?

Our Blog | March 14, 2017

One out of every three nursing home residents reports abuse at some time during their nursing home stays. Even despite this high rate of abuse, injuries continue to occur at an alarming rate.

Some legislators and consumer advocates are now fighting for a state law that will help to protect nursing home residents. They are trying to force medical providers to notify patients when they are on probation for past crimes. The hope is that this will help prevent cases of physical abuse.

Doctor on probation is allowed to practice medicine

The legal change they seek stems from an incident involving a California doctor who was caught forging prescriptions and stealing from colleagues in order to supplement her drug addiction. While awaiting her trial, she worked in a nursing home in San Mateo County where she injured an elderly patient as she was stealing the patient’s wedding ring.

The doctor was sentenced to two years in prison for this crime but later regained her license to practice medicine in California. Although she is still serving probation today, she is not required to notify her patients of that fact. Worse yet, there are 500 doctors across the state who are currently on probation for crimes ranging from sexual misconduct to overprescribing dangerous drugs to patients.

How can I tell if a loved one is being physically abused?

If you are concerned that a spouse, parent, grandparent or another loved one is being physically abused, look for these warning signs:

  • Visual signs of abuse, including bruises, scratches or other abrasions
  • When asked, nursing home staff cannot explain how an injury occurred
  • Incidents of recurring injuries that don’t seem right
  • Sudden weight loss, malnutrition or dehydration

What should I do if I suspect physical abuse?

Nursing home abuse is a crime in California. If you suspect that a loved one is the victim of abuse, take action immediately. Investigate the situation with the help of an experienced elder abuse attorney. The Sacramento personal injury lawyers at Rosenthal Law can help you and your family.