Medical Malpractice

Minimizing Fall Risks in Nursing Homes

Minimizing Fall Risks in Nursing Homes

by Jeffrey J. Kroll

Unfortunately, millions of people aged 65 and over experience falls every year.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25% of these adults who experience falls will suffer injuries.  What is equally frightening, the rate of falls is close to twice as high for nursing home residents as it is for others. Yet, there are several ways nursing homes can minimize fall risks for their patients.

The Chicago Nursing home lawyers at Kaveny + Kroll are dedicated to keeping your family members or loved ones safe. We can discuss how nursing homes can and should minimize fall risks. We can also discuss what to do if the nursing home fails to meet their responsibilities.

Most falls at nursing homes are caused by a combination of various risk factors.  The risk factors may be due to medical issues, maintenance issues or other related issues.  For example, the following can and often will contribute to nursing home falls:

  • Loose carpeting or flooring
  • Throw rugs
  • Tripping hazards
  • Foot pain or foot problems
  • Poor footwear
  • Balance or walking difficulties
  • Medications which could impact balance
  • Slippery floors
  • Lower body weakness

Many of these risk factors can be reduced or eliminated by paying careful attention to them.  Whether they like it or not, nursing homes have a legal duty to keep their residents safe.  Nursing homes will typically have protocols, rules, and various policies to address fall risks and minimize the likelihood of such injuries.  A nursing home can be liable to prevent a fall when they fail to implement certain procedures such as:

  • Removing clutter from the floor
  • Quickly cleaning up after spills
  • Failing to install grab bars in resident rooms and bathrooms
  • Conducting a fall assessment when a new resident arrives at a nursing home
  • Failing to provide residents with walkers or wheelchairs, when required
  • Failing to properly identify residents with fall risks and closely monitoring them
  • Failing to closely monitor residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia

Nursing homes may be liable for a resident’s injuries due to a fall when it is due to their negligence. This includes not providing adequate safeguards for its residents or failing to correct a known or foreseeable hazard. There are several scenarios which could result in the nursing home being found responsible for a resident fall, including, but not limited to:

  • Failing to properly train staff members
  • Failing to properly monitor residents
  • Understaffing
  • Fail to safely transfer a patient
  • Medication errors

If a family member or loved one has sustained a fall in a nursing home that you believe was caused by the nursing home’s conduct, the nursing home attorneys at Kaveny + Kroll are here to help.  We can conduct a detailed investigation to determine which factors may have contributed to the injuries and attempt to hold all responsible parties accountable for their conduct.

What is Multi District Litigation?

What is Multi District Litigation?

by Jeffrey J. Kroll

Harmful products which are designed or manufactured by large corporations are often the cause of catastrophic injuries and deaths.  Often times, individuals harmed by a product may have called a telephone number they saw on television and had been put in touch with a law firm which submitted their case to be part of Multi District Litigation (“MDL”).

What does an MDL mean?  An MDL is a very specific process wherein federal cases with the same or similar facts are transferred to one federal court to be handled by one, specific judge.  Once the transfer occurs, all cases identified by the federal court and the parties as having some type of common fact pattern which would benefit from being part of the consolidated case, will be coordinated and consolidated for pretrial proceedings.

The following types of cases commonly qualify as an MDL:

  • Cow’s milk formula
  • Mass disasters
  • Medical devices
  • Dangerous drugs
  • Other product liability claims.

An MDL case will involve multiple lawsuits which are filed by several parties.  The goal is to allow for an individual client’s needs to be addressed during the MDL.  This is different than a Class Action.  On the other hand, a Class Action involves a single lawsuit filed by a large group of people.  In a Class Action, the claims of all those people are consolidated into one legal action.

At Kaveny + Kroll, we have experience in handling cases that are heading toward an MDL or have been placed into an MDL by other courts.  At Kaveny + Kroll, we evaluate each case and treat each client no different than an individual case.  If you have a case in an MDL or want to discuss how we can assist you further, please do not hesitate to give our Mass Tort Lawyers at Kaveny + Kroll a phone call at 312-761-5585.

When does Negligence Become Criminal?

When does Negligence Become Criminal?

by Elizabeth A. Kaveny and Jeffrey J. Kroll

As Medical Negligence attorneys, as unfortunate as it is, we see malpractice in its truest forms. But when does negligent conduct of a healthcare professional become criminal? For many of our clients, it would suppose that their individual cases have a criminality inherent to them, but the statute stands as ‘did the health practitioner intend to cause damage?’ as the caveat.

Perhaps this latest case, where a nurse from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, RaDonda Vaught, in court this week on charges of reckless homicide and felony abuse of an impaired adult for the killing of Charlene Murphey, a 75-year-old patient who died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on Dec. 27, 2017, might be the exception. The Nashville Board of Nursing has long since revoked her RN license, ending her nursing career, but the Nashville DA’s office is focused on the criminal charges of what went wrong.

The patient was prescribed Versed, a sedative intended to calm her before being scanned in a large, MRI-like machine. But Vaught accidentally grabbed Vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer, which stopped the patient’s breathing and left her brain dead before the error was discovered. The deadly error began when Vaught typed in ‘VE’ to the electronic medical cabinet, without referring to the drug by its generic name, Midazolam. When the cabinet did not yield the drug, Vaught entered an override that unlocked a much larger swath of medications, including Vecuronium. She then inserted a needle into the Vecuronium which should have allowed her to see the words ‘paralyzing agent’ clearly.

Overrides are a usual part of care in the hospital system as with Vanderbilt. But Vaught’s disregard of the warning signs has brought suspicion from the medical community as well as the legal one. “This is a horrific mistake that cost Ms. Murphey her life,” says Elizabeth Kaveny, Managing Partner for Kaveny & Kroll Trial Lawyers in Chicago, who are not associated with this case. “We MUST have a stopgap which prevents lethal medications from being delivered ‘on accident’, rather looked over by a pharmaceutical specialist before being dispensed.”

Jeffrey Kroll, Partner with Kaveny & Kroll, cites other cases as having fallen under the criteria of criminal negligence. “Medications, as well as procedures, done with a seeming disregard for the outcome, can end up not only as med malpractice but criminal negligence as well. While this particular case has the nursing communities concerned that the same thing could happen to them, it is imperative that every precaution and double-checks occur before these types of errors occur. These types of fatal accidents should instead be the bar under which cases are measured.”

Elizabeth Kaveny is also serving as Chicago’s Ambassador to The Patient Safety Movement ( The Patient Safety Movement is an organization of hospitals, physicians and other professionals who share the mission of focusing to eliminate preventable harm and death in healthcare across the world by creating a sense of urgency and unifying humanity.

Ohio Hospital Paid Neil Armstrong’s Family $6M in Malpractice Settlement after his Death

Ohio hospital paid Neil Armstrong's family $6M in malpractice settlement after his death

Washington Examiner

Famed astronaut Neil Armstrong’s family reportedly received $6 million from an Ohio hospital following allegations that medical errors led to his August 2012 death.

The Mercy Health system, which defended the care provided to Armstrong, paid his family a $6 million settlement to avoid public litigation, according to documents obtained and authenticated by the New York Times. Armstrong died from “complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures” in Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 82.

Hospital Fires 23 Workers in Case of Excessive Doses, Deaths

Hospital fires 23 workers in case of excessive doses, deaths

By Kantele Franko

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio hospital system where excessive painkiller doses were given to dozens of patients who died fired 23 nurses, pharmacists and managers Thursday and said it is changing leadership, a sign that professional fallout from the scandal has expanded far beyond the intensive care doctor accused of ordering the drugs.

NY Mom Dies in Dominican Republic After Going for Cheap Plastic Surgery

NY Mom Dies in Dominican Republic After Going for Cheap Plastic Surgery Against Family’s Wishes

By Julie Mazziotta

Publication source: People

A New York woman died in the Dominican Republic over the holiday weekend while getting cheap plastic surgery. She is the third American woman to die while getting plastic surgery in Caribbean country over the last four weeks.