Spend time with loved ones and savor the time you have with them

Happy Holidays!

As we spend time with loved ones, we look back on the past year and look ahead to the next. This past year has been challenging, there’s no doubt about it. The struggling economy and nationwide recession brought us job losses and companies going out of business. It seems that things got harder for many people.

Looking back

While we spend time with loved ones, we think about families who have been through hard times. For families who have lost loved ones or who have faced their own illness, disability or injury because of medical negligence, 2009 has been a very difficult year. We have heard from hundreds of people this year who have suffered some kind of injury, illness or death from medical malpractice or nursing home neglect.
To those families, we again extend our sympathies. I am sure many in our community are glad to see the year end. Many people are looking forward to a new year and an opportunity to start over.

Moving forward

As we spend time with loved ones, we realize how much we still have. Despite everything we’ve been through, it’s important not to lose hope. No matter what we’ve been through in 2009, we can still look to 2010 to bring us happiness, prosperity and success.

Spend time with loved ones

The people we love the most never really leave us. They’re always in our hearts. But whether it’s your parents, your children, your brothers and sisters, or your best friends, take the time to tell people how much you care. Life is too short. It is in this time of giving and holiday cheer that we send this message to you. We hope you can share the holidays with someone special. If you have questions, we can help.

No matter what you’re going through, there are resources and people out there who can help you get through it. I can be one source of guidance. If you’re dealing with a wrongful death or a personal injury case, I know how hard it can be.

At the Mininno Law Office, our number one priority is our clients. Our New Jersey lawyers would be happy to answer any questions you have or offer any help they can give you. Call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Pennsylvania.

Patient rights protection is getting major help from a new ad campaign

Patient rights protection might not be the first thing you think about when you or a loved one has to go to a hospital. You may not always need it, but when you do, you’re sure glad it’s there.

Why is patient rights protection important?

To explain why patient rights protection is important, let me share what may be a shocking statistic. Fact: Research shows that each year, 98,000 lives will be lost to preventable medical errors. Do you know what the keyword is in that sentence? It’s “preventable” and it means that these medical errors that cause wrongful death can be avoided. These are errors that should not happen and these deaths should not happen.
If we can improve patient rights protection, we can do two things. We can both improve health care and decrease the number of deaths from preventable medical errors.

Is anyone fighting for patient rights protection?

Yes, certified civil trial lawyers are fighting for patient rights protection. The American Association for Justice, formerly called the Association of Trial Lawyers in America, has recently spent its own resources to advocate and fight for patient rights protection. The goal? Make health care more affordable for everyone.

In order to make a difference, 30 public service “billboards” that will be displayed at Union Station Metro in Washington, D.C. during the entire month of December. The campaign has already gotten a ton of positive press coverage. You can read about the effort on Politico and on NationalJournal.com.
Each ad will tell a story of someone who was hurt by medical negligence. This is an investment of $100,000, but it shows how important health care is to medical malpractice attorneys. New Jersey attorneys see cases with surgical errors and medical mistakes all too often. In addition to fighting for their clients, they’re fighting for all Americans to get better health care.

What about tort reform? Will it help with patient rights protection?

Tort reform will not help with patient rights protection. Think about who’s pushing tort reform — insurance lobbyists and corporate nursing homes. Why? They’re trying to make more money. Tort reform takes away rights, it doesn’t support them. It won’t help improve health care; it will just make things worse.

What if I’m not being protected?

Talk to a medical malpractice attorney. At the Mininno Law Office, we have experienced New Jersey attorneys who have dealt with these cases all too often. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have or offer any help you need. Call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Pennsylvania.

How to find the best medical care for you and your loved ones

Best medical care: How can you find it?

Finding the best medical care is not easy. Why? Because how do you ever know whether you are or are not getting the “best.” Is “best” the most likeable, the most experienced, the best trained? How can you even begin to find the “best” medical care. As a trial lawyer, I have had the experience of seeing and learning about “poor” medical care from the people who call me every day with a potential medical malpractice case.
Usually, I only learn about what “great” medical care should be after I retain a well qualified expert to evaluate a potential medical malpractice case.

But, now there is a great resource that I want to share with you, a book on the best medical care is one great resource. It’s called “The Life You Save: Nine Steps to Finding the Best Medical Care and Avoiding the Worst.”Written by Patrick Malone, this book should be one of the primary resources to help you find the “best” medical care.
This book, written by one of the country’s great trial lawyer is one first reference books of its kind. In 296 pages, Malone answers the basic questions: what, when, where, why, and how. What questions should you ask your doctor? When do you have symptoms that need immediate attention? Where can you find the most experienced surgeons and safest hospitals? Malone answers all of these questions and more. Find out more about the book or purchase it by clicking here.

Another great guide is here. The site’s patient section covers all of the ways you can use the Internet to get the help you need. The guide covers search engines, online doctors, chat sessions, newsgroups, mailing lists and more.

If I don’t find the best medical care, what could happen?

That’s simple. You could become the victim of medical malpractice. The quality of medical care increases with the quality of the doctor or hospital giving that care. The risk of a bad outcome increases with the degree of inexperience of a doctor. So, the consequences of not having the most experienced doctor or the highest quality attention can be very severe.
A surgical error, for example, could lead to personal injury or death. There’s nothing more important than your health and the health of your loved ones, so getting the help you need isn’t an option. It’s a necessity.

What if I’ve been a victim of medical malpractice?

Talk to a medical malpractice attorney. At the Mininno Law Office, we have experienced New Jersey lawyers who have dealt with these cases all too often. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have or offer any help you need. Call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Pennsylvania.

Medical malpractice data should be easily accessible for public viewing

Did you know that medical malpractice data about your local hospitals and doctors is being hidden from you? We’re not talking about a few little facts. We’re talking about 20 years worth of medical malpractice data, including 460,000 records of medical malpractice lawsuits.
This is data that the public SHOULD have access to but doesn’t. It doesn’t sound fair, does it? You’re right of course — it’s not fair.

Why is medical malpractice data being hidden from the public?

It may sound obvious to you, but medical malpractice data is being hidden because there are some people who don’t want you to see it. The American Medical Association is probably the biggest culprit here. Reported by Tulsa World, the AMA is telling us that the information in the database is inaccurate and unreliable. Do you believe that?

Let’s go back to the question at hand. This medical malpractice data contains information about doctors’ mistakes. Now can you see why an organization like the AMA would not want this information to get out? This data could hurt doctors’ reputation because if people found out that their particular doctors frequently made mistakes, they might just switch doctors.

Why is it important to publish medical malpractice data?

Medical malpractice data is incredibly important for any patient. If you knew which doctors have made mistakes and which haven’t, you would have an easier time picking a doctor for an operation, treatment or whatever your need may be.

Also, this data would help other doctors explain the risks and benefits of medical treatment. A doctor and a patient could each do their own research and make better, more informed decisions.

Finally, if a doctor knows that his or her mistakes will be on a public record, perhaps that doctor will be just a little more careful with a patient. We have all seen examples of how public scrutiny changes behavior and acts as a check and balance system on irresponsible conduct.

More than anything else, don’t you have the right to know? We pay for medical treatment. We are the customers. You deserve proper medical attention and care, and if your physician’s mistakes are being hidden, you do not have all of the information needed to make important medical decisions.
The best way to get information is to just ask questions. Ask your doctor, ask your friends. Do some research. Sooner or later, you’ll find what you’re looking for. If for some reason you can’t get the information you want on your doctor, it may be time to look for a new doctor. You should always know the quality of care you can expect to receive.

What if I’m not getting my questions answered?

Talk to a medical malpractice attorney. At the Mininno Law Office, we have experienced New Jersey lawyers who have dealt with these cases all too often. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have or offer any help you need.
Call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Pennsylvania.

Visiting a nursing home requires observation and communication

Visiting a nursing home is not an easy thing to do. The truth is, one visit can have huge implications for someone you love. You can learn so much just by spending a little time at a home, talking with staff and absorbing the atmosphere.

When visiting a nursing home, you should have a sharp eye and be very observant for anything that stands out — good or bad.

When visiting a nursing home, what should I look for?

When you’re visiting a nursing home, you want to gauge the morale of residents and staff, but most importantly, you want to know about one word: care. How are residents cared for? What’s the quality of care? Do employees truly care about the residents or are they just doing their job? This is really the best way to help you choose.
Let’s face it. It is difficult to care for our own loved ones, who may have enormous needs and medical problems. It takes a special person to be able to care for the elderly on a daily basis. Look at staff members. Do they seem like they really care about the patients; or are they just collecting a paycheck and doing a job?

These are all important questions to ask yourself during your visit. It may help to bring a pen and a pad. Ideally, you’ll gather tons of information that you can’t possibly remember, so write everything down so you don’t forget. A checklist is one way to approach note-taking. We suggest you go to Medicare.gov, which has a great nursing home checklist.

What else should I do when visiting a nursing home?

We’ve discussed observing the care that residents get when you’re visiting a nursing home. Observing is just step one. Step two? Talk. Communicate. Talk to the employees. But most importantly, LISTEN to what they say. Do they refer to the residents by name, or call them “clients and patients.” Spend time with residents as well. Ask employees to introduce you to residents.

Here’s an even better idea: Talk to other visitors — families who have residents there. Call in advance to find out when visitors are most likely to be there, and then talk to them. Exchange e-mail addresses and get the real scoop. Ask them what they think of the place. Ask them about the care their relatives are getting.

Although this may be tough, you should bring your loved one if possible. They may be reluctant to interact or even go to the home, but you can learn by watching how the staff treats them on the visit to the nursing home. If possible, let your loved one engage with other residents. Watch staff interact with him or her. See what happens.
This step is crucial. Many nursing homes are businesses that want your Medicaid and Medicare dollars, so if you don’t look carefully and find the right home, your may increase the chances of your loved one becoming a victim of nursing home abuse, neglect or exploitation.

If such a case should arise, though we hope it never does, please contact a nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. At the Mininno Law Office, our certified civil trial lawyers are experienced with these cases and would be happy to help you. Call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Pennsylvania.

Are nursing homes safe for our loved ones?

Are nursing homes safe?

If you have to decide whether to move a loved one to a nursing home, you should ask yourself, this question: “Are nursing homes safe?” The answer is yes and no: We would like to believe that all nursing homes offer proper attention and care, but sadly, our experience and the statistics show that this is not true for every case. Some nursing homes are safer than others — but no place is truly safe because you are entrusting your loved ones to the care of the strangers who staff these nursing homes.

According to the American Psychological Association’s Office on Aging, “every year an estimated 2.1 million older Americans are victims of physical, psychological, or other forms of abuse and neglect. For every case of elder abuse and neglect that is reported to authorities, experts estimate that there may be as many as five cases that have not been reported”. This is a brutal statistic.

Why are some nursing homes unsafe?

Some nursing homes are unsafe because of elder exploitation, abuse and neglect. Why does this happen? First, remember that nursing homes are mostly profit-driven entities. The less they can pay staff, the more they can pay the shareholders. I’d like you to think about staff in particular. Here are five reasons for abuse:

1. Not enough employees — one less staff member means more profits
2. Under-qualified employees — the less experienced, the lower the pay, the greater the profits
3. Overworked employees — when staff have to do more with less, they become less caring
4. Underpaid employees — when a staff member is making minimum wage, the caring incentive is decreased
5. Stressed and/or frustrated employees — the above factors adversely affect even the most dedicated and caring nursing home workers

A nursing home corporation is driven by economics. The corporate profits are increased by every dollar that can be saved on the number and quality of staff members. These are just some answers for the question, are nursing homes safe? Can you think of any other answers?

What should I do if I suspect abuse?

Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer right away.
At the Mininno Law Office, we have New Jersey certified civil trial lawyers available to help you. Our NJ nursing home abuse lawyers are experienced in nursing home neglect and abuse cases. They can assist you with anything you need. Call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey or (215) 567-2380 in Pennsylvania.

Choosing a nursing home is a difficult task but a very important decision

Choosing a nursing home is a decision like no other. You’re selecting a new home for someone you love and a place from where they may never return. It’s the toughest decision you may make. So, it’s important to know what questions to ask and what answers to expect. Many nursing homes may appear to be the same, but you will sometimes notice dramatic differences if you examine each one carefully.

If I’m choosing a nursing home, what’s most important?

Choosing a nursing home requires time, research and care. When choosing a nursing home, you have to consider many factors. Most importantly, you should be your loved one’s own patient advocate. Ask tough questions and demand specific answers. Unfortunately, despite the best research, residents are sometimes mistreated or neglected even in a good nursing home. New Jersey malpractice attorneys have seen too many of these cases before.

When choosing a nursing home, what information can help me?

A recent study looked at roughly 16,000 rated nursing homes in the U.S. Here are the good results:

Homes with high nurse to patient ratios generally received strong ratings. In other words, the more caretakers the better. Be sure to ask about the nurse to patient ratio, not just the patient to staff ratio.

Homes in the northeast were rated higher than homes in other regions. This is good news if you live here in the northeast but not so good if you live elsewhere.

More than 2 million Americans return home after staying in a nursing home for fewer than three months. So, a nursing home stay does not have to be a life sentence.

Here are the bad results:

Homes run by for-profit corporations generally receive lower ratings than homes run by nonprofit corporations. This should not surprise you. Sadly, many nursing homes put profit over people.

Homes with more than 100 beds generally received lower ratings. Again, no surprise there. Fewer patients versus more caretakers is always better than the other way around.

More than 500,000 Americans die in nursing homes each year — that’s a tough statistic to swallow.

If the worst should happen to your loved one in a nursing home, though we hope it never does, please contact a certified civil trial lawyer immediately.
The Mininno Law Office is always available to help. If you have questions about nursing homes, our New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyers can answer them for you.