Nursing Home COVID-19 Wrongful Death Claims
Two elderly Seminole men died of nursing home neglect when they contracted COVID-19, and their families are suing the nursing home, according to the Tampa Bay Times. 43 percent of all fatalities that have occurred in Tampa have been nursing home residents, according to the newspaper, and the lawsuit alleges that the nursing home facility where these two men were living “chose to place profits over residents and ignore deficiencies in their emergency preparedness plan and in their infection prevention and control program.” The lawsuit alleges that the nursing home facility breached its fiduciary duty and violated Florida law when it failed to protect its vulnerable elderly clients from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
When Can a Nursing Home Be Liable For COVID-19 Death or Injury?
According to the Seminole nursing home lawsuit, the facility did not supply or require employees to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), allowed asymptomatic staff to spread the virus to the plaintiffs, and did not alert the Florida Department of Health of a potential outbreak in time. Additionally, there was a significant lack in communication to staff, residents, and family members about the virus and potential outbreak. If your loved one died or was injured in a similar case, you can file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit for neglect. Neglect can take the form of:
- Not requiring staff to use PPE;
- Not supplying adequate PPE;
- Not implementing safety protocol to keep infected staff members away from work, such as taking temperature or asking staff if they had been feeling sick or had been exposed to anyone who was sick;
- Failing to test residents and staff for COVID-19;
- Failing to quarantine sick patients;
- Failing to take sick patients to the hospital in time;
- Failing to keep residents socially distant from one another;
- Not supplying sanitation measures, such as hand sanitizer, masks, and alcohol wipes;
- Failure to sanitize common spaces, equipment, hand railings, bathrooms, and private rooms;
- Failing to inform patients, staff, and family members about COVID-19 outbreaks or current safety/isolation procedures;
- Allowing other family members into the facility when social distancing should have been observed;
- Attempting to cover up an outbreak;
- Misclassifying illness or deaths as non-COVID-19 related; and
The Pandemic is Still On the Rise
While Florida has been “opening back up” for business and life is somewhat returning to normal, COVID-19 is still running rampant. There are nearly 80,000 documented cases of COVID-19 in Florida currently, more than ever before, and Florida recently had its largest daily outbreak at 2,625 confirmed cases, according to Worldometers. Thirteen residents in a St. Petersburg nursing home facility recently tested positive, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Nursing homes must be more diligent than ever to protect their residents, and there is now no excuse for taking all precautions.
Contact a Tampa Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer
If your loved one contracted COVID-19 at a nursing home and passed away as a result, a Tampa nursing home abuse attorney can help investigate if there was wrongdoing on behalf of the facility. Call Kohn Law today at 813-428-8504 to schedule a free consultation.