John J. Hopkins & Associates

Alton Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Do not overlook emotional abuse in nursing homes

You may already be aware of the risk of physical abuse nursing home residents face. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the elderly to be subjected to neglect and blatant physical harm. This is not the only form of abuse that can take place in a nursing home, though—emotional harm is arguably just as common and potentially just as detrimental. There are a few things you should know about the phenomenon.

ABC News cites verbal abuse as one of the common forms of mistreatment nursing home patients endure, and indeed, it is a serious problem. The following are a few indicators that might become apparent if your loved one is being emotionally abused:

Surgical errors leave child with brain damage

Even routine medical procedures carry their risks. In fact, surgical errors are fast becoming one of the most common causes of injury and death in Illinois and across the country. One family in another state will likely spend the rest of their lives struggling with the consequences of a medical mistake in the aftercare of their son following a routine procedure.

The 2-year-old boy was admitted to the hospital to have his tonsils and adenoids removed because his obstructed airway resulted in sleep apnea. After the procedure, he was moved to a recovery area where he soon began having difficulty breathing. Nevertheless, the surgeon took no action, instead leaving the child under the watch of a nurse and a resident. In fact, the attending physician claims the surgeon instructed him not to intubate the patient, although the surgeon denies giving this order.

Employment law protects against wrongful termination in Illinois

In general, workers know there are laws that safeguard them from some of the actions of their employers. There are federal employment law protections concerning discrimination against protected classes of individuals or unjust firings. At the state level, additional protections exist under the Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

WARN requires that companies notify the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity if they intend to close or to lay off workers. In fact, DCEO  keeps a list of companies planning to end the employment of their staffs. Recently, it was reported that the list includes some 14 employers who plan to lay off workers in the coming months.

Illinois personal injury claim for wrongful death may come

An Illinois man is suffering after a horrific crash that happened recently. The man lost his entire family as a result of a car crash in the state. In every car accident in Illinois that ends with personal injury or wrongful death, there are survivors who are left to mourn the event, and this man is no exception. He is now likely consider his legal options to find justice in the wake of this tragedy.

According to reports, a pregnant mother and her three young children were travelling on a local highway on their way to vacation bible school just prior to the fatal wreck. For reasons that are as yet to be determined, a pickup truck drove through a red light and smashed into the families vehicle. The violent impact left the mother and her three passengers with grave injuries that ultimately led to their deaths, even though all occupants were reportedly properly restrained.

Illinois man suffers personal injury after crash

A collision between a car and a motorcycle often ends badly for those on the motorcycle, as many in Illinois know. Sheer size difference can result in a violent impact. In one recent incident between the two types of vehicles, the result left one man with a personal injury.

According to reports, the vehicles were traveling in opposite directions on an Illinois highway just prior to the incident. The driver of the car was stopped at a stop sign as the motorcyclist began to travel through an intersection. For reasons that are as yet unclear, the car proceeded into the intersection. This resulted in the motorcycle striking the car. 

Is there such a thing as a nonharmful medical error?

There are countless errors made every day by doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals. Some of these are obviously more injurious than others. Failure to diagnose a life-threatening illness may be fatal, for example. There are other supposedly innocuous errors, however, that are often called nonharmful errors. It is worth wondering, however, whether any medical error can truly be harmless.

According to Medscape, 37 percent of physicians responding to a survey indicated they may be comfortable hiding an error if they believed it would not cause their patient harm. There are several reasons this statistic should give pause to patients who are receiving a medical treatment of any kind.

Did your termination violate federal or Illinois employment law?

The federal government and the state of Illinois provide you with certain rights as an employee. When you exercise those rights, you should be able to do so without fear of retaliation. Unfortunately, not all employees are clear about what their rights are or what their employers can and cannot do under employment law.

For instance, if you suffered an injury on the job, your employer cannot terminate your employment because you filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits. Perhaps you reported some wrongdoing by the company that employs you such as issues about workplace accidents, fraud or violations of environmental regulations, among other activities that would be considered contrary to federal or Illinois law. Your employer cannot fire you for making such reports.

Illinois car wreck leads to fatal personal injury for victims

A car accident can happen just about anywhere and at any time. In many cases, individuals can suffer personal injury or even death because of the negligence of another driver. That is what happened recently to two men from Belleville on Illinois 15 recently.

The victims of the fatal car accident were riding in a car on the highway around 12:45 a.m. when their vehicle was struck by a pickup truck traveling in the wrong direction. Authorities say the man driving the pickup had been arrested at least four other times for driving under the influence. They are continuing to investigate this incident, and it remains to be seen if alcohol was a factor. 

Facility has history of nursing home neglect allegations

The decision of where to find care for an elderly loved one is never undertaken lightly. In spite of how much care goes into the selection of a care facility, there remains the worry that a loved one will suffer from nursing home neglect or abuse. There may be many Illinois families who have endured this disturbing and easily preventable circumstances.

One facility has been the subject of multiple wrongful death cases over the past decade. According to a professional, most families do not pursue these types of civil suits against these facilities, even in cases where suspected abuse occurred. The current suit was the latest in a series of four others which -- according to an executive director of a long-term care coalition -- signals a pervasive or long-lasting problem with neglect or abuse. Of the 12 providers in the area, this home exceeded the other facilities by three cases. 

Panda Express to pay $600K after national origin discrimination

The Chinese restaurant chain Panda Express has just settled with the U.S. Department of Justice in a nationwide discrimination claim. According to a spokesperson for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, the company engaged in employment practices that put resident immigrants with work permits at a disadvantage.

The company still believes it did not discriminate, according to a Panda Express spokesperson, but it sees the value in putting in place additional training and systems to address the concern.

ALTON —Like any successful trial lawyer, John Hopkins knows the importance of preparation. But he usually doesn’t write out the questions he plans to ask witnesses in depositions or in court.

“I like to react to what the witness is saying—not only what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it,” Hopkins says.

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