Failure To Call An Ambulance To A Nursing Home Can Make Matters Worse
Some of the most serious harm to nursing home residents can come not from the staff’s actions, but from their inactions. Such is the case when staff fails to call a doctor or hospital to get care for a resident who is sick or injured. The lack of immediate medical attention can cause a condition to worsen, or the resident may even die.
Most states have rules that require nursing homes to call an ambulance in the event of a medical emergency. Further, nursing homes should have their own internal policies for when to call an ambulance. Some nursing homes may contract with a private ambulance company, which they must contact in these situations. Others may simply dial 911 when necessary.
If you believe your elderly loved one needs emergency medical care and nursing home staff has not called 911 or refuses to do so, you have every right to call 911 on your own.
Why Would Nursing Home Staff Not Call An Ambulance?
Most nursing home staff is made up of nursing assistants, with a small number of registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Nursing assistants may not have the training to accurately assess the severity of a medical condition. For example, if an elderly person falls, a nursing assistant may not be able to ascertain whether bones are broken and emergency medical care is necessary. To make matters more complicated, the elderly person may not be able to communicate clearly what they are feeling, particularly if they also suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Instead of calling an ambulance, the nursing assistant may choose to wait until an RN or LPN is on staff to review the resident’s condition. In the meantime, the resident’s medical condition may worsen. There may also be a financial motive in not calling an ambulance, as doing so represents a cost to the nursing home. Staff may be trained to avoid making the call unless they are certain it is necessary.
If the failure of a nursing home to get a resident to a doctor or hospital leads to a condition worsening, the victim and their family may have a nursing home claim. At Reddick Law, our attorneys are well-versed in identifying when a nursing home and its staff failed to fulfill their obligations to a resident. We will take action to hold them accountable.