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Colorado Attorneys specializing in Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse, Medical Malpractice, Consumer Protection and Civil Rights

CMHIP Security Break Brain Injured Patient’s Arm Then Deny Him Medical Treatment

Our firm has begun working on another case against the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP).

 

Shawn Whittaker recently suffered a spiral fracture to his right arm, severe bruising all over his body and an injured foot while at CMHIP.

 

Shawn, 39, was hit by a drunk driver when he was 18 years old and left with a permanent closed head injury.  One of the side effects of his head injury is recurrent bouts of depression.

 

In mid-July, 2011, Shawn was feeling depressed and was taken to the hospital by his family for treatment.  He was transferred from the hospital to CMHIP, where he was admitted on a voluntary basis.

 

Just a few days after having been admitted to CMHIP, Shawn was in the cafeteria where he requested a soda.  Because of certain restrictions, Shawn was denied the soft drink.  Allegedly, Shawn became extremely upset, and a CMHIP employee hailed four security guards.   According to a fellow patient and eye witness, the security guards cleared all of the patients out of the room except for Shawn.  While this eye witness was walking away, he heard a table hit the ground and heard Shawn scream out in pain.  Shawn reports they twisted his arm with such force he felt it snap.  In addition to the snapped humerus bone, Shawn also suffered bruising on both arms, his back, chest and his ear.  He also suffered ligament damage to his foot.

 

After the incident, it is alleged that the four CMHIP officers restrained Shawn by tying him to a bed for two hours because he was screaming out in pain.  Despite his repeated requests for emergency medical attention, Shawn was not taken to the hospital for treatment until 18 hours later.  Shawn later underwent surgery for his arm fracture.

 

The family has made repeated requests for information concerning this incident and the video surveillance pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA). So far, those requests have been denied by CMHIP, the Pueblo Sheriff’s office and the Colorado Department of Human Services.

 

To read more about this story, go to the following links:

 

http://www.krdo.com/news/29212700/detail.html

 

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/28990619/detail.html

 

http://www.chieftain.com/news/local/cmhip-treatment-of-patient-under-review/article_450562d8-c249-11e0-96e0-001cc4c03286.html

 

Law Offices of JM Reinan Appealing District of Colorado’s Dismissal of Civil Rights Law Suit Brought Against County Run Nursing Home

The Law Offices of J.M. Reinan, P.C. is appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit the dismissal of a lawsuit brought on behalf of a former Bent County Healthcare Center resident, Alice Hawkins.

 

The lawsuit was brought against Bent County and the Administrator of the Bent County Healthcare Center, and alleged violations of the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 (FNHRA).

 

Alice Hawkins was admitted to Bent County Healthcare Center with a pressure sore she had developed while at Parkview Hospital.  The suit alleged that Bent County Healthcare Center improperly admitted Ms. Hawkins and then, once admitted, violated several federal statutory requirements concerning Ms. Hawkins’s care, including requirements governing pressure sore treatment, proper nutrition and hydration, communications with physicians and family members, and facility administration. Ms. Hawkins alleged that as a result of these statutory violations, she was discharged from Bent County Healthcare Center with a serious and life-threatening pressure sore that required surgery and removal of a portion of her tailbone.

 

Ms. Hawkins claimed that Bent County Healthcare Center violated her federal statutory rights by “failing to satisfy the standards of quality of care and resident rights set forth in 42 U.S.C. §§ 1395i-3 and 1396r.”  The suit was brought under the theory that these and other violations of the specific provisions of the FNHRA provided Ms. Hawkins with a private right of action to pursue a civil rights case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

 

Bent County and its Administrator moved to dismiss the case arguing that the FNHRA does not create an enforceable private right of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

 

The court granted the motion to dismiss stating that, “even when a statute speaks in terms of rights, there is no presumption of enforceability.”  The Court further found that “FNHRA provisions focus on what state nursing facilities must do to maintain funding, not on the benefits received by the residents.”

 

In its ruling, the District Court expressed disagreement with the Third Circuit Court’s decision in Grammar v. John J. Kane Regional Centers-Glenn Hazel, 570 F.3d 520 (3rd Cir. 2009).  In Grammar, the Third Circuit held that the FNHRA does create an enforceable private right of action under § 1983.

 

This issue had not yet been addressed in the District of Colorado, and has not yet been addressed by the Tenth Circuit.  Courts in other jurisdictions have held that the FNHRA does create an enforceable private right of action under § 1983.

 

The Federal Rights Project at the National Senior Citizens Law Center will be filing an amicus brief in support of the Reinan Law Office’s appeal.

Sister of Former Assisted Living Facility Resident Brings Suit for Fraud, Deceptive Trade Practices

The Law Offices of J.M. Reinan, P.C. represents Betty Miller, whose sister, Shirley Wolf, died from hypothermia after being locked out of her Lakewood, Colorado assisted living facility, Eaton Terrace II, for several hours in November, 2009.

 

The lawsuit, recently filed in Jefferson County on Ms. Miller’s behalf, contains allegations that Eaton Terrace II failed to properly monitor Ms. Wolf in order to ensure her safety; failed to sufficiently staff its facility to ensure Ms. Wolf’s safety; failed to keep Ms. Miller informed about her sister’s prior escapes and attempted escapes from the facility; and failed to implement safety precautions and oversight mechanisms to prevent Ms. Wolf from escaping and, once she had escaped, from realizing she was missing.

 

It is further alleged that Eaton Terrace II’s conduct following Ms. Wolf’s death was unlawful.  In particular, it is claimed that Eaton Terrace II gave conflicting accounts of what happened to investigating agencies, including the local police department and the health department, and falsified Ms. Wolf’s chart.

 

Ms. Miller has brought claims for violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, Extreme and Outrageous Conduct, Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Fraud.

 

Reinan Law Attorneys Author Chapter in CLE Elder Law Handbook

The Law Offices of J.M. Reinan, P.C. was approached by Colorado Bar Association CLE to author a chapter in the latest edition of Elder Law in Colorado, a publication issued by CBA/CLE Books. We have been informed that the issue has just been completed and released!

 

Attorneys J Reinan and Jordana Gingrass wrote the chapter entitled “Nursing Home Litigation,” which we hope will serve as a guide to attorneys and others interested in Colorado nursing home lawsuits.  Among other things, the chapter details types of injuries commonly seen in nursing homes; legal claims that may stem from those nursing home injuries; and discovery and evidentiary issues that often arise in these types of cases.

 

We look forward to receiving feedback on our chapter and hope it is found to be a helpful resource!

 

For more information about CBA/CLE and/or the fourth edition of Elder Law in Colorado, go to www.cobar.org/cle or call them directly at (303) 860-0608.

Sexual assault at Woodridge Park

Our client, a disabled woman with advanced Parkinson’s Disease, alleges she was the victim of sexual assault by an employee of Woodridge Park while she was a resident there.  Although the assault was reported to the police, neither the Commerce City Police Department nor Woodridge Park investigated the assault until it was reported by a local television station.

 

The Commerce City Police Department is also conducting an internal investigation to determine why it did not respond to our client’s sexual assault report while under Woodridge Park’s watch.

Welcome to our new website

Welcome to our new website. We have performed what we hope is a pleasing facelift. We have also determined to become active bloggers in order to provide you with updated, ongoing information about our firm and what we do.

 

Our goal is to provide you with information and some opinions on things going on in our area of the law. As you can see, our primary interests are long-term care and the laws affecting older people and people with disabilities.

 

We hope that you enjoy the changes that we have made to the website and also hope that you will use this site as an informational tool. Welcome.

Woodridge Park–Traceable pattern and history of unexplained neglect

We recently filed suit against Woodridge Park, a rehabilitation and nursing home in Commerce City, Colorado.

 

Our client claims that her mother suffered a serious head injury at Woodridge Park and that, as a result, she died a short time later. The cause of the injury is not yet known. Although the facility claims that our client’s mother fell, the stories have been conflicting, and, according to our client and the medical providers, the serious injury she endured does not seem consistent with a mere fall.

 

Woodridge Park has just recently been the subject of several investigations by a local television station, KMGH Channel 7. Links to those stories by John Ferrugia are here:

 

The first link contains a story about this case.  Like these other stories, this lawsuit also alleges a traceable pattern and history of uncorrected bad conduct and of unexplained neglect and abuse at this facility. Our client has brought claims for wrongful death, violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act and for extreme and outrageous conduct.

 

If you have any information regarding suspected neglect or abuse at Woodridge Park, please contact our office.