Regan Zambri Long President and Senior Partner Patrick M. Regan was recently quoted in the article “When Neglect Turns Fatal” in the Injury & Malpractice Issue of Best Lawyers magazine. The article discusses the factors that make litigating nursing home abuse and neglect cases difficult, especially with patients who are immobile or suffer from dementia.
Here is what he had to say in the article:
“[Patients] start to deteriorate, not because of illness or disease, but because of neglect,” noted Regan, who was named the Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” in Washington, D.C. for Medical Malpractice–Plaintiffs in 2014 and 2020 and for Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions–Plaintiffs in 2022. “The most frequent cases stem from what initially seem to be relatively minor bed and pressure sores. That’s solely a result of not turning the patients properly and not repositioning them. It embeds itself more in the tissue, and that in turn leads to infection. And then it starts a vicious cycle, where what began as a minor condition has become life-threatening.” (He said he has litigated many claims stemming from bed sores and the resulting fatalities have been reported between 90 and 120 days of the infection.)
“You can replace a hip, a knee, the heart and so forth,” noted Regan, who also serves on the Best Lawyers editorial advisory board. “We have bodies that last longer, but minds that might not be as healthy. So there are more patients with dementia being admitted to nursing homes. This unfortunately leads to more injuries.”
Regan said the damage caps are sometimes a deterrent for many would-be claimants, but those who proceed with their case often do so because of a moral calling. “In many of these cases, depending on the jurisdiction, the cost of prosecuting a case for negligence or malpractice in the nursing facility can make the case economically unviable because the recovery is limited by the state law,” he says. “So these are people who aren’t earning wages and they’re typically not supporting family members. Their claims are essentially limited to pain and suffering, which is subject to the damage caps. I often explain this to family members who say, ‘I appreciate knowing that going in, but I don’t want this to happen to somebody else’s mother or father or somebody else’s husband or wife.’”