South Carolina Rehabilitation Facility Injury Lawyer
Charleston, South Carolina Lawyers for Injuries In Rehab Centers
Rehabilitation facilities provide therapy and training to help patients develop critical self-care skills. When rehabilitation centers fail to meet the standard of care and a patient sustains serious injuries due to negligence, the patient may pursue a medical malpractice claim.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, rehabilitation team members work with patients to strengthen their abilities through exercises and treatment plans designed by physicians. By learning about each patient’s limitations, staff members can better analyze their patients and provide excellent care.
Outpatient nurses, registered nurses (RN), certified nursing assistants (CNAs), licensed nurses (LNs), and physical therapists are some of the staff members who work with patients at these facilities. Whether a staff member has an early morning, mid-day, or overnight shift, rehabilitation employees must treat their patients with proper respect and care. At The Steinberg Law Firm, we fight for the rights of patients injured in rehab facilities throughout South Carolina.
What Is A Rehabilitation Facility?
A rehabilitation facility helps patients build and practice necessary self-care skills. A staff member must tailor each patient’s experience in rehab to their specific needs. A physician may require a patient to receive physical, occupational, speech, and other therapies several times a week. Patients may also need psychological counseling, pain management, and other treatments depending on the severity of their condition.
Rehabilitation hospitals provide short-term care to those recovering from injuries, medical procedures, or severe illnesses. They aim to help these patients regain the strength and skills they need to return home. The top rehabilitation centers in South Carolina include:
- Encompass Health, Rehabilitation Hospital of Columbia
- Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation, Prisma Health
- MUSC Health Rehabilitation Hospital
- Florence Rehabilitation Center, MUSC Health
Although specialty areas vary per center, typical specialties include treatments for strokes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, spinal cord injuries, fractures of hips, amputations, cancers, and multiple traumas.
What Causes Medical Malpractice in a Rehabilitation Facility?
Healthcare providers have a legal duty to meet the standard of care when providing rehabilitation services. The standard of care is the standard to which an ordinarily prudent provider would have provided care in the same setting.
A recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report revealed that about 29 percent of Medicare beneficiaries had experienced harm while receiving rehabilitation care. Types of harm mentioned in the report included:
- Longer hospital stays;
- Transfers to other hospitals for additional care;
- Permanent injuries or impairments; and
- A need for life-saving medical treatment.
To prove medical malpractice, an injured person must show that:
- The provider had a duty to meet the standard of care for the injured person;
- The provider failed to meet the standard of care;
- The provider’s failure caused the person’s injuries; and
- The injuries can be compensated by a court.
During a rehabilitation facility stay, patients may see several healthcare providers such as doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, pharmacists, and specialized therapists. Each interaction provides an opportunity for patients to progress positively towards recovery – or a chance for medical malpractice to occur.
Types of medical malpractice that may occur in a rehabilitation setting include:
- Failure to address new or worsening symptoms. If new symptoms appear or existing symptoms worsen, rehabilitation providers must intervene to address the problem. If providers misinterpret a patient’s condition or ignore treating additional symptoms, serious harm can result.
- Failure to follow safety protocols for patient transfers. Rehabilitation patients are often at high risk for falls. In addition to teaching patients how to manage their fall risks, rehabilitation providers must follow safety protocols to prevent falls.
- Failure to monitor patients’ mental health. Many people enter rehabilitation in a world that has been turned upside-down. Many are reeling from the results of a serious accident or a medical emergency. When rehabilitation facilities don’t account for patients’ mental and emotional health, patients face a higher risk of injury from self-harm.
- Medication errors. Prescribed medications may be part of a patient’s treatment plan. Doctors will assign specific dosage amounts, the timing of medication, and additional instructions. Patients may suffer serious harm when the wrong medication type is given, the dosage is too much or too little, or the doses are skipped entirely.
- Neglecting health and safety policies. From washing bedding to keeping the floors free of debris, health and safety measures are essential to ensuring a clean and safe environment. A rehabilitation facility that neglects these basic tasks puts patients at high risk for contracting illnesses, infections, and other serious injuries.
- Wound care and medical treatment errors. Patients may arrive at a rehabilitation center and need surgical wound care, feeding tubes, or breathing equipment. Staff members are responsible for monitoring and documenting a patient’s health throughout the recovery process. If additional medications, an extension of stay, or additional procedures may be needed, a nurse or other staff member should collaborate with physicians to determine the best medical treatments for the patient. When communication and assistance fall short, rehabilitation patients are the ones who will suffer.
If you or someone you love experienced harm while in a rehabilitation center, it’s best to seek the help of a South Carolina rehabilitation care facility lawyer as soon as possible. A local attorney will discuss your legal rights and determine the next best steps for your unjust circumstances.
What Are the Signs of Rehab Facility Negligence?
If medical negligence has happened to you or a loved one, an experienced negligence injury lawyer will evaluate medical records, the type of care received, and additional evidence to detect which law violations occurred. Signs that providers may be committing negligence include:
- Unexplained injuries, including bruises, scratches, or bone fractures;
- Injuries or wounds that worsen without explanation or intervention;
- Dirty clothes, soiled bedding, and poor hygiene;
- Bedsores and pressure ulcers that are untreated;
- Emotional symptoms of withdrawal, fear, depression, and other signs of trauma;
- Episodes of falling or being dropped during transfers;
- Skipped therapy sessions without an explanation; and
- Missed medications, patients receiving the wrong medication, or patients being over- or under-medicated.
Families can help spot signs of medical negligence in rehabilitation centers. Knowing the details of a loved one’s condition and rehabilitation goals can help monitor a loved one’s progress. Once specific concerns are raised, a provider’s standard of care is challenged and can lead to filing a medical malpractice claim if serious injuries have been sustained.
Time Limits for Filing a Rehabilitation Facility-Related Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
South Carolina sets a three-year time limit on rehabilitation facility injury claims. In most cases, your loved one will have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in a state court.
Some injuries are impossible to identify when they occur. In these cases, the three-year time limit begins to run on the date the damage was discovered or when it could have been reasonably found.
Understanding how this time limit or “statute of limitations” applies to a specific case can be challenging. Speaking to an experienced South Carolina rehabilitation facility injury lawyer can help you develop a plan for yourself or your loved one. An attorney at Steinberg Law Firm, LLC will determine how the statute of limitations applies to the incident and what the steps should be. Contact us today at (843) 720-2800.
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