Connecticut long term facilities react to COVID-19-related deaths: can legal action be taken?

Apr 7, 2020 9:15 PM ET

Reasonable precautionary measures.

Connecticut long term healthcare facilities are tackling the spread of COVID-19, while recognizing a shortage of beds, as administrators attempt to separate healthy residents from those that are infected by temporary placement at separate facilities.  This measure will hopefully reduce the outbreak among this vulnerable population who live in close proximity to each other with shared sources of food, water, air, medical staff and equipment..


Duty of care.

Administrative personnel must take reasonable measures to ensure caregivers follow updated state protocols, along with those already in place to protect residents in long-term residential health care facilities.  Nursing home abuse covers acts of negligence that cause, or exacerbate existing health conditions or place residents in danger.  Kaiser Health News reported that nursing homes across the country and in Connecticut struggle to follow basic infection prevention protocols and approximately 63 percent of all U.S. nursing homes were cited for one or more infection-control deficiencies in the last four years. Within that same time period, 165 of 215 Connecticut nursing homes were cited for at least one infection control deficiency and those were all corrected.


Disease spread.

Patients over the age of 60 and those with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and facilities should engage in the isolation precaution practices they have utilized for respiratory infections such as influenza.  Six former residents of the Benchmark Senior Living at Ridgefield Crossing assisted living facility in Ridgefield have died of the coronavirus. Three former patients of The Evergreen Health Care Center in Strafford have died of the coronavirus, while 12 patients and 6 staff members have been infected. Several workers interviewed by the Courant said that there was confusion at the health care center and shortages of personal protective equipment required for staff who are interacting with a patient suspected of having COVID-19. Deviations from facility cleanliness, staff hygiene and administrative infectious disease protocols could place a resident at risk and may be considered acts of unintentional negligence.


Statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Connecticut is two years from the date of the decedent’s death, and no more than five years from the time an act or omission has been identified, with reasonable support that a defendant’s negligence or intentional action played a role in causing a death.


Seek legal counsel.

Contact a personal injury attorney in Connecticut if you, or a loved one suffered injury, or death caused by unsafe practices, inadequate precautions and sustained exposure to other sick long-term care residents to discuss your case.

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