Does Hospital Elder Abuse Occur in California?

hospital hallway workers

You likely assume that when you take your loved one to the hospital, they will be left in the caring hands of doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff. However, you must understand that abuse has been reported to occur, so you must still look out for any indications of this. Read on to discover how common hospital abuse is and how a seasoned California hospital elder abuse lawyer at Cowdrey & Jenkins LLP can help you detect warning signs.

How common is hospital elder abuse in California?

Unfortunately, the elderly are viewed as a vulnerable community. So sometimes, their vulnerability gets taken advantage of. This is when hospital elder abuse occurs. Abuse can be seen as either physical, emotional, neglect, sexual, financial, etc. The most indicative signs of abuse, reported across the state of California, are as follows:

  • Physical abuse:
    • An elderly individual has unexplained bruises, cuts, and other injuries.
  • Emotional abuse:
    • An elderly individual exhibits unusual behavior, like depression and confusion.
    • An elderly individual seems withdrawn from loved ones.
  • Neglect:
    • An elderly individual has wandered around the hospital without supervision.
    • An elderly individual has bed sores or other preventable injuries.
    • An elderly individual appears unhygienic, with dirty clothes and bed sheets.
    • An elderly individual appears underfed and dehydrated.
    • An elderly individual appears overmedicated or undermedicated.
  • Sexual abuse:
    • An elder individual exhibits an adverse reaction to certain hospital staff members.
  • Financial abuse:
    • An elderly individual has lost money or other valuables.

It is sad to say that abuse in a hospital is a greater possibility than you may realize. With that being said, you must take any complaints by your loved one into serious consideration. You may just be their only lifeline to get them out of harm’s way.

What should I do if my loved one complains of hospital abuse?

Once you listen to your loved one’s complaints, then you must take the proper actions toward getting them into safety. You can do so by transferring them out of that particular hospital and contacting the following organizations:

  • Your local law enforcement.
  • Your local Adult Protection Services.
  • The Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

And once they are safe, you must consider taking legal action against the negligent hospital staff. For your elder abuse claim, you will have to file within California’s statute of limitations. More specifically, this deadline is usually two years from the date of your loved one’s incident. This is an important date to meet because, otherwise, you will be permanently barred from suing, recovering damages, and attaining justice.