When a person has been injured while in the care of another person, there are many defenses that those accused of causing the injury may attempt to utilize. A national chain of nursing homes has been accused of understaffing to the point where patients suffered injury and even death. When the nursing home and their counsel attempted to have the case 'thrown out,' the motion was denied by the presiding judge assigned to the case.
New Mexico's own attorney general has taken on the case in lieu of news of the dozens of plaintiffs who were injured or died. The nursing home chain asserted many defenses in response to the allegations, one such defense stated that the understaffing occurring at the nursing home wasn't an issue because their staff is overly competent and compassionate. In response, the plaintiffs calculated how long it takes for nursing home staff to complete certain tasks such as bathing residents, administering medication and others. Using the mathematical reasoning, they then argued that the hours recorded as worked by staff was not sufficient and thus the understaffing problem occurred despite having even the best staff.
The accused nursing home chain has alleged that greed and other similar motivations are guiding the plaintiffs. They also accused the attorney general of being lobbied by a private law firm. All of these allegations were taken in stride by the judge, however, and he was not swayed toward the defendant's allegations.
Nursing home neglect can happen quite easily in situations where inadequate staffing exists. Those that lost loved ones prematurely in a home and those who were injured while residing within the nursing home want answers. The motion to dismiss the case was denied, and with it brings another step closer to a favorable outcome for the plaintiffs. The case will proceed to the next step. New Mexico's attorney general is looking to seek damages for the injured patients and their families when and if a favorable decision is determined.
Source: natlawreview.com, "Action against nursing home operator for systematic understaffing," Jonathan Rosenfeld, Dec. 12, 2016