Social Media as Abuse in Nursing Homes

In many cases, nursing homes and long-term care facilities are a necessary and helpful form of support for elderly loved ones. They provide additional care and assistance that other family members and loved ones often cannot provide. However, these locations also create a distinct power imbalance between elderly residents and able-bodied staff members. This leads to a serious problem of nursing home abuse across the country that presents itself in a multitude of different ways. The Des Moines Register reviewed a new form of abuse that is becoming prevalent in Iowa and across the nation – the use of social media platforms, such as Snapchat, as a way to anonymously abuse elderly nursing home residents.

The Investigative journalism source ProPublica has been tracking the growing amount of exploitation of nursing home residents through social media since 2015. There have been 65 cases reported of nursing home staff taking and posting unauthorized photos of residents that are often lewd or vulgar. Although some of these photos have been found on social media, such as FaceBook and Instagram, the most popular location is Snapchat, due to the photos’ limited availability. 6 of these cases of social media abuse have been reported in Iowa, which has urged Senator Chuck Grassley to request that social media companies do more to prevent this kind of behavior. Nursing homes are also taking steps to stop this form of abuse by further training their employees on the importance of patient privacy and dignity; however, this cannot reverse the damage which has already been done. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are concerned that social media abuse may have long-standing mental and emotional effects on the residents. Additionally, the family members of the elderly who have been exploited are outraged by this degrading behavior. Due to the increasing number of social media abuse cases that have been reported, Iowa legislators are taking steps to create regulations that hold abusive nursing home staff accountable for their actions. They hope that other state legislators will follow their lead.

Nursing home abuse of any kind is unacceptable and devastating to its victims and their loved ones. Individuals relying on others for care should not have to worry about this type of exploitation. Unfortunately, the anonymity and protection of social media make this a difficult problem to recognize and to remedy. However, with the growing awareness of this problem, social media platforms are taking steps to make it easier to report abusive content, which will hopefully help quickly reduce the number of these cases.

It may be difficult for families to recover after they have been a nursing home abuse victim, but there are steps that they can take to make this process easier. Not only is it important to stop the abuse once you are aware of it, but you may also file a lawsuit against the caretaker or nursing home responsible. While this cannot undo the damage that has already been done, taking action against the person responsible can helps families feel that justice has been served.  

Read More

Gallbladder Disease

People do not usually talk about their gallbladder unless they are suffering from gallbladder pain. The gallbladder is a small pear-shaped sac that is found just below the liver; it is primarily responsible for storing (and then releasing) bile into your small intestine to help in the digestive process (specifically in digesting fats).

Gallbladder pain is caused by conditions that can affect the gallbladder, conditions that are mostly due to irritation of the cholecystitis (gallbladder wall). These conditions refer to diseases, such as:

  • a. Gallstones – these develop when cholesterol, bile salts, calcium or other substances in the bile form into hard particles (which can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball) and block the passageway to the gallbladder.
    • A number of factors that contribute to the development of gallstones include:
      • Being overweight or obese;
      • Eating a high-fat or high-cholesterol diet;
      • Having diabetes;
      • Being age 60 or older;
      • Taking medications that contain estrogen;
      • and,Having a family history of gallstones
  • b. Cholecystitis – this most common type of gallbladder disease presents itself either as a chronic or acute inflammation of the gallbladder.
    • Acute cholecystitis can be caused by gallstones, tumors, or other forms of illnesses and the pain it causes, usually in the upper right side or upper middle part of the abdomen, ordinarily occurs right after a meal. Besides pain, acute cholecystitis can also cause    fever, nausea, vomiting, jaundice and different colored stools.
    • Chronic Cholecystitis, on the other hand, occurs when the gallbladder shrinks and loses its ability to store and release bile (this results from the several attacks of acute cholecystitis). Chronic Cholecystitis causes nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
  • c. Choledocholithiasis
  • d. Acalculous Gallbladder Disease or Biliary Dyskinesia
  • e. Sclerosing Cholangitis
  • f. Gallbladder Cancer
  • g. Gallbladder Polyps
  • h. Gangrene of the Gallbladder
  • i. Abscess of the Gallbladder
    • The most common symptoms of a gallbladder disease include:
      • Abdominal pain that radiates into the back and right shoulder blade
      • Pain that increases in severity after eating or breathing deeply
      • Chronic heartburn, indigestion or a feeling of fullness in the stomach
      • Cramps including dull or sharp pains
      • Stools that are a clay color

According to the GastroCare LI center, treatment of gallbladder diseases can either be gallstone removal or removal of the entire gallbladder. As long as complications (primarily infection) are avoided, the prognosis for those who undergo any form of gallstones or gallbladder removal is quite good.

 

Read More

Even Those Convicted of Murder are Innocent until Proven Guilty

When you are charged with a crime it would no longer matter if the offense you are being charged with is minor or major. Whatever case it is you will definitely need a strong defense from a highly competent criminal defense lawyer who fully understands the law and is well experienced in courtroom scenes.

Since not all criminal attorneys have the same level of expertise and amount of experience, you will have to choose well. Remember that what you need is a strong defense and substantial evidences that will help you earn an acquittal. This is especially true if you are being accused of a major offense, like murder, for example.

Aside from theft, robbery, DUI and possession and/or distribution of illegal drugs, homicide or murder is another very serious crime. Though homicide and murder are often used interchangeably. The scope of the word ‘homicide,’ however, is broader than murder. While murder refers only to criminal homicide, the term homicide applies to both criminal and non-criminal acts. Non-criminal homicides are those viewed as excusable or justified, such as accidentally killing a person (who is threatening your life) in an act of self-defense or in defense of another.

Because murder is the unjustifiable killing of another individual, it, therefore, deserves severe punishment. Depending on the degree of the act itself and whether you have or do not have a past record, the punishment for murder can be up to 25 years if with clean record or 30 years to life imprisonment if with a serious past offense. The worst punishment for murder is a death sentence; besides this the federal state also does not allow parole for those convicted of this crime.

An interactive database posted in the website of The Wall Street Journal says that between the year 2000 and 2010 about 165,068 murders cases were reported in 50 U.S. states (excluding Florida). The law firm Horst Law lists down seven types of murderous acts:

  • First-Degree Murder (capital punishment)
  • Second-Degree Murder (Class A felony)
  • Voluntary Manslaughter (Class C felony)
  • Vehicular Homicide (Classes A-D)
  • Assisted Suicide (Class D felony)
  • Reckless Homicide (Class D felony)
  • Criminally Negligent Homicide (Class E felony)

A murder charge, however, is just that, a charge. With a strong defense from a seasoned criminal defense lawyer, you can have a chance to saving your life from being judged guilty.

Read More

How Much Responsible is a Property Owner for Accidents Occurring in His/Her Property?

Slip and fall is a very common accident that can cause injuries, such as a minor bruise or a serious fracture to the wrist or elbow, or a spinal column injury. This accident can occur anywhere, in a public or a private place, where one least expects it to happen.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), more than eight million slip and fall accidents occur in the U.S. every year. The most common causes of these accidents are wet, oily, icy or slippery floors or surfaces; loose, uneven and broken floors, steps, sidewalks or stairs; a faulty staircase; unsecured rugs or carpets; and hidden or tangled extension wires.

Slip and fall victims are most commonly the ones blamed for the accident and their injuries. However, rather than being less careless, thus, the accident, the Hankey Law Office rather believes that blame may be imputed on the property owner, who, most probably, negligently failed to keep his/her property free of safety hazards – the cause of injury to visitors.

Slip and fall accidents are filed as premises liability cases. Premises liability refers to a landowner’s accountability for injuries suffered by persons due to a defective or unsafe condition in his/her property. The scope of a premises liability lawsuit is not limited to injuries resulting from slips, trips or falls; rather, it includes injuries resulting from falling objects, electrocution, open excavations, broken chairs, and so forth, so long as these occur in someone else’s premises.

In determining the extent of a property owner’s responsibility and liability to injuries, a classification of those who enter his/her premise has been made. This classification refers to the three classes or categories of visitors, namely: an invitee, a licensee and a trespasser.

  • Invitee – refers to a person who has the landowner’s permission to enter his/her property. His/her being on the property can be due to the conduction of some kind of business, or because the property, being a public property, is made available to the public.
  • A licensee is a person who has the landowner’s expressed or implied permission to enter the property. His/her being there, however, is for his/her own purpose or amusement, rather than for business purposes.
  • A trespasser is a person who has no authority, whatsoever, to be on someone else’s property. Thus, being on the property illegally, the owner owes him/her no responsibility if ever he/she gets injured (unless he/she is a child).

In some states, like in Chicago, for instance, property owners have a legal obligation to reasonably maintain the safety of their premises. A property owner who fails to do so and if the slip and fall accident victim will be able to prove that the property owner knew, or should have known, about the dangerous condition that caused his/her accident, then it would be wise to pursue compensation through a lawsuit.

Read More

Fault grounds in divorce/what are they? What are the ramifications of an at-fault divorce?

Although many states have adopted a no-fault divorce policy, giving couples the option to cite benign causes for the separation, sometimes it is the best or most beneficial option for one of the parties to claim fault against the other. According to Houston law firm Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, this status can strongly sway rulings on child support, child custody, property division, and alimony payments.

An at-fault divorce requires the plaintiff to have grounds for the divorce and provide proof that their claims are well founded. Grounds for at-fault divorce include emotional or physical cruelty, desertion, imprisonment, and adultery.
Despite the possible benefit of the court ruling in the favor of the plaintiff, filing an at-fault divorce is very often more expensive and more time-consuming than a no-fault divorce. An at-fault divorce, by its very nature, is often contested by the defendant and requires the couple to go to court. In addition, if there are children involved, the process of a court-run divorce can become emotionally taxing and very strenuous on the entire family.

Although plaintiffs may be able to pull up proof of the defendant’s faults, the defendant also has means to defend themselves. To counter accusations of fault from a spouse, defenses against divorce include:

  • Collusion, which is an agreement between the two parties to present a fraudulent scenario to be eligible for divorce. This was more common when no-fault divorces were not available.
  • Condonation, which is when a couple has reconciled after a transgression, but files for divorce based on that transgression anyway.
  • Connivance, which is the claim that permission of the plaintiff was given to the defendant to commit an offense. This defense is most commonly used in defense of adultery.
  • Recrimination, which is the barring of divorce from a couple in which both parties have committed an offense. If this occurs, many couples go on to file for no-fault divorce.
Read More