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Why do nursing home deaths often not spark investigations?

In many cases in which people are killed, extensive investigations take place. A fatal car accident or a workplace accident could lead to months of investigation to determine who was at fault. Obviously, long investigations often happen when people die in suspicious circumstances and the authorities think foul play may be involved.

However, in nursing home deaths, investigations aren't initiated all that often. Why do these deaths not get the same scrutiny?

As you may expect, a lot of it just has to do with the medical challenges the residents are facing. They may have numerous ailments and injuries. They are moving into nursing homes because they're getting closer to passing away, so this end is expected. This can lead people to assume that investigations aren't necessary.

However, one report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information noted that unnatural deaths in nursing homes do happen and should be investigated. The report looked at seven deaths due to accidents and a pair of homicides. Researchers found that staff members actively attempted to conceal the manner of the residents' deaths in four cases. They said these workers did so because they thought they'd face lawsuits and/or criminal charges.

The report contends that unnatural deaths could be significantly under-reported, as nursing homes work to cover things up and make it appear that the elderly died of natural causes.

Maybe you don't think anyone on staff actively attempted to harm one of your loved ones. However, if you think negligence or wrongdoing led to a deadly accident or illness in a nursing home, and especially if you think the management or staff tried to cover it up, you need to learn more about your legal options.

Source: NCBI, "Unnatural deaths in nursing home patients," TS Corey, accessed Dec. 26, 2016

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