Website helps find right nursing home

mar_article2More than 3 million Americans are living in nursing homes. That is 1 of every 7 Americans over the age of 65 and 1 of 5 of those older than 85. That’s a lot of children and families concerned about their parents’ well-being.

Although most cities have a wide range of choices in nursing homes, it can be hard to choose the right one for you and your family. Each home offers different options and some, unfortunately, may not provide quality care, and may even be guilty of elder abuse. If so, how can you find out?

It is estimated that 30 percent of nursing home residents have experienced some type of abuse. More than 91 percent of nursing homes have been cited by inspectors for at least one deficiency. These statistics can be scary for anyone looking for a quality and safe nursing home, but there are resources that can make your decision a little easier.

To help you and your family, U.S. News & World Report has collected data and ratings about nearly every nursing facility in the United States, and built a searchable database. The results are designed to highlight the highest-rated homes that are most likely to meet each user’s needs.

The data behind the Best Nursing Homes database comes from Nursing Home Compare, a federal government website run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service. The agency sets and enforces standards for nursing homes enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid. It also collects information from states and individual homes and assigns each home (other than a few homes that are too new to have built up enough months of data) a rating of one to five stars in each of three categories:

  • State-conducted health inspections
  • Nursing and physical therapy staffing
  • Quality of medical care

According to the database, Ohio ranks fifth in the nation with 137 five-star rated nursing homes. California is first with 312.

While rankings are a good start to any search for the perfect nursing home, there is no guarantee any nursing home will be a good fit for your loved one. However, the rankings come from a respected agency and their rankings should be valued.

At Elk & Elk, our attorneys want to help end elder abuse. Find out how an experienced elder abuse attorney can help you or your loved one.


Ohio birth injury lawyers explain most serious types of injuries

Pregnancy and the birth of a child should be one of the happiest times in a parent’s life. But sometimes complications occur during birth and children are left with birth injuries such as cerebral palsy, bell palsy, brachial plexus injury or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.

While not all birth injuries are preventable, actions by the medical staff may have been negligent. Negligence could be a misdiagnosis or failure to follow proper medical procedures designed to minimize the risks involved in a diagnosed condition.

Three of the most serious types of birth injuries are cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injury and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Here is some information about each type of injury and what causes them.

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is one of the most serious health problems caused by birth injuries. An estimated 800,000 individuals in the U.S. have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and worldwide there are an estimated 17 million cases.

The term cerebral palsy refers to any one of a number of neurological disorders appearing in infancy or early childhood that permanently affect a person’s movement and muscle coordination. Cerebral palsy does not worsen over time and, although it may affect muscle movements, it isn’t a problem of the muscles or nerves. Most children who have cerebral palsy have had it since birth, often due to a lack of oxygen to the brain (called hypoxia) or to the body (asphyxia), premature delivery, or birth trauma – sometimes because of medical malpractice and delivery mistakes during labor or child birth.

There are four different types of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy: Some muscles are tight, stiff and weak, making control of movement difficult.
  • Athetoid cerebral palsy: Control of muscles is disrupted by spontaneous and unwanted movements. Control of posture is also disrupted.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy: Problems include difficulty with balance and speech and shaky movements of hands or feet.
  • Mixed cerebral palsy: a combination of all three.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain during birth. While this type of injury is rare, the consequences are serious, causing life-threatening and sometimes permanent brain damage.

Lack of oxygen frequently damages not only the brain, but other organs as well. Often these include heart damage with abnormal blood pressures or heart rhythms, liver damage with elevated liver enzymes, kidney damage with low urine output and abnormal kidney function, gastrointestinal problems with abnormal feeding, low or high tone with floppy or stiff muscles and/or impaired control of breathing often requiring ventilation.

In the United States, as many as 9,000 newborns are affected by HIE each year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The mortality rate is 25 to 50 percent, and most deaths occur in the first week of life due to multiple organ failure or redirection of care (moving to a new unit or hospital). The condition is also a frequent cause of mental retardation, epilepsy, learning disabilities and cerebral palsy.


Brachial plexus injury

Brachial plexus injury is caused by birth trauma, usually the child’s shoulder becoming stuck on the mother’s pelvis. The resultant stretch from the forces of labor, operative delivery (vacuum or forceps) and obstetrical traction can lead to a stretch or tearing of a group of primary nerves, called the brachial plexus, which supply movement and feeling to the arm. Paralysis can be partial or complete and the damage to each nerve can range from bruising to tearing.

Some babies recover on their own; others may require specialist intervention. Pediatric neurosurgery or nerve grafting is often required for a tear. Lesions may heal over time and function may return in total or partially. Although many children less than 1 year old recover range of motion, individuals who have not yet healed after this point rarely gain full function in their arm. Early intervention with neurology, neurosurgery and orthopedics can maximize recovery through therapies, nerve grafting and tendon transfers.

If your child has suffered a birth injury, contact us today and see how we can help. The birth injury lawyers of Elk & Elk have the experience you need to get the results you deserve. Our dedicated attorneys and qualified medical professionals will help you determine the best course of action for your needs. You can either fill out the online consultation form or call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO today and get the process started.

Cardiologist facing scrutiny for unnecessary heart stents

A Cleveland-area cardiologist is being investigated by the FBI and his work is being probed by three Northeast Ohio hospitals to determine if he unnecessarily placed stents in the hearts of patients.

According to an FBI spokeswoman, the agency has seized financial papers, patient files and other records from the medical office of Westlake cardiologist Dr. Harry Persaud. The three hospitals covered include Westlake’s St. John Medical Center (jointly owned by the Sisters of Charity Health System and University Hospitals), Fairview Hospital in Cleveland (a Cleveland Clinic hospital) and Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights, which has a partnering agreement with University Hospitals.

According to the State Medical Board of Ohio’s website, Persaud, 53, was born in London and graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School at the University of London in 1983. The state board site also states that it has taken no formal action against him. Persaud is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular disease, according to the American Board of Medical Specialties.

St. John officials were first notified of concerns about Persaud’s work in February when staff members in the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab told cardiology department officials that the doctor wasn’t performing stent procedures the same way as other doctors. According to St. John’s chief medical officer, the hospital immediately started an internal investigation and called in an outside expert. The expert reviewed 30 of Persaud’s cases and determined that 23 patients unnecessarily received stents.

The public was first made aware about questions concerning Persaud’s work in August. That’s when St. John Medical Center sent letters of apology to the 23 patients, telling them they may have had stents placed in their hearts unnecessarily at the hospital during the previous two years. The Medical Executive Committee at St. John Medical Center recommended to hospital trustees that the doctor’s privileges be revoked. Persaud has appealed and a hearing will be held. Until then, he has been suspended and cannot practice there.

At the same time, Southwest said it had begun an internal review of similar cases the doctor performed at their facility. A spokesman said they had found no evidence of improper care but the investigation is ongoing.

A week later, Fairview Hospital announced it, too, was investigating Persaud’s work and contacting his stent patients. According to hospital officials, Persaud resigned from the hospital’s staff in January.

In September, a 53-year-old Cleveland man filed a lawsuit against Persaud and St. John Medical Center in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court claiming he received a stent he did not need. The lawsuit says that actions by Persaud and the hospital “were so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree that they go beyond all possible bounds of decency and may be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”

The suit, which asks for a jury trial, also says that St. John officials knew that Persaud would perform fraudulent medical treatment and had developed a pattern of incompetence or inappropriate behavior but failed to limit his privileges before Barber was treated.

Doctors performing unnecessary medical procedures are a serious concern, and need to be dealt with strongly. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that up to 30 percent of health care expenditures in the U.S. go toward tests, procedures, doctor visits, hospital stays and other services that many medical experts say do not improve patients’ health. Even more distressing than the financial waste is the risk these procedures can pose to patients’ well-being. Anytime a patient undergoes a medical procedure, there is a risk something can go wrong. There is no reason they should unnecessarily put their lives at risk in this way.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of unnecessary medical procedures, contact the medical malpractice attorneys of Elk & Elk today. We will put our nearly 50 years’ of experience and our vast resources to work for you, to help you get the results you deserve. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO today or fill out or online consultation form to find out how we can help you.