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Carlisle Sentinel Letter to the Editor: Legal action can be needed for elders

Posted Scott B. Cooper on Feb 19, 2013 in Nursing Home Negligence & Abuse

Schmidt Kramer Partner and Pennsylvania Association for Justice President Scott B. Cooper responded to an "elder law" abuse column in the Carlisle Sentinel recently.  Below is his letter to the Editor as well as a link to the letter.

http://cumberlink.com/news/opinion/mailbag/letter-legal-action-can-be-needed-for-elders/article_55da3f4e-794e-11e2-9754-001a4bcf887a.html

Dear Editor:

While his first sentence makes it is clear that Attorney Dave Nesbitt’s main concern in his Feb. 5 “Elder Law” column on page C1 of The Sentinel is to prevent the poaching of potential clients by “firms that are not based in south-central Pennsylvania,” the path he promotes is not appropriate for all cases and could harm veterans’ rights.

We all agree our seniors deserve to be treated with respect and care. While the litigation waiting six-month period his firm utilizes may work for some, it is a bad idea for others and unworkable for another group who deserve our respect: veterans. Under federal tort claims notice requirements, if an attorney waits six months to file suit for someone injured in a VA nursing facility, they’ve committed legal malpractice. In a state like Pennsylvania, with a strong history of military service, Nesbitt’s advice is simply wrong.

Moreover, the study he cites, which found that “the amount of litigation was not significantly lower for those nursing homes which the data suggested provided better care than for other homes with less-favorable qualitative data,” does not support his argument that lawsuits do not improve care. Whether one facility was sued has nothing to do with whether another is providing quality care. What should be looked at is whether, after being sued, a health care provider improved the quality of care.

While I do not practice elder care law, protecting the physical safety of a senior is of paramount concern. It is a fact that legal action, or even the threat of legal action, is sometimes needed to protect our elders and their rights.

Scott Cooper, Esq.

President, Pennsylvania

Association for Justice

Harrisburg

At Schmidt Kramer, we prosecute nursing home neglect and abuse for civil damages.  If your loved one was injured or passed away because of what seems like negligence in a nursing home, we would be glad to discuss with you whether a case should be pursued.  In Central Pennsylvania, we will meet with you in a free consultation.  You may be able to take action if you or a loved one were injured by the negligence or fault of the nursing home.

When your loved one is in need of a nursing home, you need to do your homework.  You can see citations the home you are considering has received in the past, on the Pa. Department of Health’s website.  You can find a link to the site on Schmidt Kramer’s website.  Call us at (717) 888-8888 if you are local to Harrisburg, or call us toll-free at 1-888-476-0807.

You may also want to download one of the free publications we offer on our website.  Here is the link to where you can find the information on inspections at Pa. Nursing Homes.