Montana Nursing Home Facing Lawsuit Over COVID Deaths

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Montana Nursing Home Facing Lawsuit Over COVID Deaths
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Whitefish Care and Rehabilitation Center located in Whitefish, Montana, is facing a lawsuit on behalf of loved ones in the facility who passed away due to COVID complications that could allegedly have been prevented with proper care.

Whitefish Care and Rehabilitation Center is a long-term care facility designed to house up to 100 residents. The official complaint alleges that at least 13 residents died and many more contracted the virus due to a preventable outbreak within the facility. The lawsuit goes on to allege that the facility did not make any substantial efforts to implement COVID-19 safety precautions both recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a noncompliance warning to the facility in September 2020.

Concerns over the facility’s lax safety measures seem to have been relatively consistent from the start of the pandemic. Additionally, it seems equally evident that the facility was aware of these safety concerns and knowingly ignored them. According to the official complaint, staff failed to wear adequate protective gear when entering the room of COVID-positive residents and made little effort to assist residents with social distancing efforts. Although staff member knowledge of basic safety guidelines intended to prevent spread of the virus seems undeniable, the facility failed to follow and enforce these guidelines in their own facility.

Whitefish Care and Rehabilitation Center is facing allegations of negligence and wrongful death, among others.

Negligence appears to be the primary allegation in this lawsuit, which had already been noted in the facility long before the lawsuit was filed. This negligence constitutes a breach of contract with the facility, which agreed to care for the basic safety of its residents, and also resulted in the wrongful death of at least three residents.

The families of these three residents are responsible for bringing this lawsuit forward and are seeking damages including a trial by jury as well as punitive damages on behalf of the deceased and their surviving families. Punitive damages are relatively uncommon except in situations where one party behaved with reckless disregard for another party’s safety; these damages generally come in the form of a monetary payment intended to punish and discourage the negligent party from similar future conduct.

This is not the first nursing home to face a lawsuit over COVID negligence, and is unlikely to be the last.

A Pennsylvania nursing home is facing similar allegations on behalf of the deaths of 10 residents and adverse health effects of 5 more; however, the actual number of deaths linked to COVID in the Pennsylvania facility is at least 73. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have long been known for perpetuating neglectful and even abusive environments, and the COVID pandemic has only worsened the situation for the many high-risk residents in these communities. If you or a loved one have suffered from neglect, abuse, or unsafe COVID measures in a nursing home or care facility, reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your situation as soon as possible.

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