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Six elderly Florida residents are alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in their lawsuit against the state over the length of time it takes them to get in-home Medicaid care.

Approximately 50,000 state residents remain on a waiting list for in-home Medicaid services which can take over three years to access, driving some to enter nursing facilities to get the care they need, according to reports.

National statistics show that there are more older adults and adults with disabilities on the waitlist for community-based services in Florida than any other state.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida contends that patients face hardships without proper in-home services, placing them at risk during a long wait to get the service. Thousands of elderly residents have died while they were on the waiting list, and in addition to their suffering, it places a strain on families trying to provide the care their elders need.

Florida has a capped system of long-term in-home care through Medicaid with a limited amount of space, and people are kept waiting to be accepted.

According to the suit, the present system is forcing elderly residents to enter nursing homes seeking the care they need which is an alleged violation of the Olmstead provision of the ADA, which dictates that people with disabilities and older people have the right to acquire care services in a setting appropriate to their needs.

The majority of people on the waiting list are over 60, with more than half over 74.

About 22 percent of Florida’s Medicaid spending for long-term care goes to home-based services, making it among the worst in the nation. The average among states is 45 percent.

The lawsuit asks that in-home care services be increased to handle greater capacity and speed up the waiting period to provide personal care such as bathing, dressing, or assistance using the bathroom.

In the state of Florida, there are different levels of Medicaid care. The Medicaid Waiver Program provides benefits for in-home and assisted living care. The requirements are that the patient is Medicaid-eligible and needs a nursing home level of care. Sadly, as this case shows, the program is underfunded and there is a long wait list.

Depending on the level of need and existing support, individuals may wait up to three and a half years before getting care at home. Between July 1, 2016, and March 8, 2018, more than 1,400 people on the waitlist had to move to nursing facilities. In this same time period, more than 8,600 people died while on the waitlist.

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A sex abuse investigation is underway in Phoenix after a woman in a vegetative state in a healthcare facility for 10 years gave birth.

Staff at the facility had been giving round the clock care to the female patient, according to AZ Family.

She gave birth on December 29 after apparently being raped at the facility some months earlier.  

A source added that: ‘None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth.’

Reports indicated that confused staff heard the woman moaning before she gave birth to the child.

Her vegetative state is a result of an incident in which she nearly drowned ten years ago.

As a result of the incident, male staff members wanting to enter the room of a female patient must be accompanied by a female staff member.

The facility issued a statement to AZ Family and said it has been in business in the valley for over 50 years and ‘has an outstanding reputation providing high quality specialized care for our patients’.

We trust that health care providers will look after not only our own welfare, but that of our children and loved ones. We expect them to be places of care, rather than abuse. Sadly, sexual predators are everywhere and prey on vulnerable people seeking medical attention.

Our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton routinely represent victims that are sexually abused in nursing homes, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other health care facilities. Health care facilities are rampant with sexual abuse. It is the facilities’ job to prevent sexual assault and abuse from happening. State law also dictates how these facilities are supposed to supervise patients, such as regular bed checks. As this case shows, these guidelines are often violated.

If you or someone you know has suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a healthcare provider, please let us help you file a claim against the at-fault party. We can help you obtain a sense of justice, and most importantly, ensure that those at fault pay for their crimes.

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Florida has revoked the license of a nursing home where 12 elderly patients died in the heat after it lost power during a 2017 hurricane.

The Agency for Health Care Administration issued its order Friday, saying an administrative law judge correctly concluded the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills “created an unsafe environment” in September 2017 after Hurricane Irma knocked out its air conditioning.

Patients began dying three days after the storm passed. Investigators believe the center did not evacuate patients as temperatures inside rose, even though a fully functional hospital was across the street. The home’s license was suspended days after the storm and it closed.

Police have been investigating the deaths, but no charges have been filed.

Nursing homes have a legal obligation to make sure their patients are properly cared for, even in the midst of a hurricane. When the facility and staff are not prepared, residents can suffer serious personal injuries and even wrongful death. For those who suffer injuries in a nursing home, or families who have lost loved ones in a nursing home, our Florida Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can investigate if the nursing home is liable for any wrongful actions.

We proudly help injured nursing home residents, and surviving family members, recover financial compensation to cover medical expenses, therapy, rehabilitative care, as well as wrongful death expenses. We start with looking into nursing home policies and practices to determine if negligence caused a resident to suffer harm. From there, we can help your pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim.

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A head-on collision killed a woman and seriously injured a man on South U.S. 301 in Summerfield Thursday night.

According to a witness, a 2011 BMW 5 series driven by a 34-year-old was in the wrong lane on U.S. 301 at Southeast 132nd Street Road and collided with a 47-year-old driving a 2003 Honda Civic.

Marion County Fire Rescue and arrived at the scene at 10:30 p.m. The driver of the Honda Civic was pronounced dead at 10:22 p.m., according to reports.

The BMW driver was taken by ambulance to Ocala Regional Medical Center.

According to FHP, the BMW was stopped in the outside northbound lane of U.S 301 facing south. The Honda was just south of the intersection, traveling north in the inside lane.

Troopers said the BMW proceeded south in the northbound lanes and the Honda took evasive action by swerving to the left into the outside left turn lane, but the two cars collided head-on.

There are no updates at this time if alcohol was a factor and if charges will be filed.

Wrong-way driving occurs when a motorist drives against the direction of traffic. The most common result of this error is a serious head-on collision. Wrong-way driving accidents can happen at any speed on any street, highway, or road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 350 people are killed every year nationwide in wrong-way highway accidents.

Serious injuries can result from wrong-way accidents, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, lacerations, and even death. These injuries can be costly to treat, which is why Florida law allows you to recover financial damages through a personal injury or wrongful death claim. These damages may include medical costs, rehabilitation expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, costs of future medical care, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and all other losses resulting from the accident.

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Officials say at least six passengers fell ill on a Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland to Tampa.

According to reports, the passengers who traveled on Tampa-bound Frontier Airlines Flight 1397 on Tuesday fell ill after leaving Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

The passengers are being held for observation. The sick passengers on board the flight to Tampa International Airport were not traveling together.

The passengers were said to be vomiting by the time the plane landed, according to reports.

Several water fountains were shut down at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport after the passengers became sick, according to reports. Airport officials could not confirm that was the cause of the sicknesses.

The remaining passengers were kept on the plane for about an hour after it landed.

Not all airplane injuries involve crashes. There are many incidents that can lead to passengers being harmed, including:

  • Airline food poisoning
  • Slip-and-fall accidents and trip-and-fall accidents
  • Overhead bin discharge injuries
  • Service cart collision injuries
  • Coffee spill and hot liquid spill injuries
  • Food allergy injuries
  • Broken seat injuries
  • Turbulence injuries
  • Hard landing injuries
  • Assault and sexual assault
  • Delayed medical treatment

Food poisoning and/or water contamination are types of injuries that are often misunderstood. Many people assume that the only result from such an incident is temporary gastrointestinal illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea. However, that’s not always true. You can get very sick from eating tainted food or drinking contaminated water, and you could end up kidney failure, septic blood poisoning, brain damage, and in some cases even death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 128,000 people are hospitalized with food poisoning every year, and 3,000 more will actually die of foodborne diseases.

If you or a loved one has suffered from food poisoning or water contamination on an airplane, your first step should be to seek medical attention. Following that, you should speak to a Florida Injury Attorney at Whittel & Melton. We know how to obtain full and fair financial compensation for victims of food poisoning, including medical expenses and lost wages.

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A 2-year-old girl has been injured after falling into the rhinoceros exhibit at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne.

Brevard County Fire Rescue officials said the girl was taken to an Orlando hospital for treatment Tuesday afternoon. Her mother was also taken to a hospital for treatment.

The zoo’s executive director said they don’t believe the rhino’s horn touched the child. The extent of the child’s injuries is not clear.

She fell through the steel poles that separate guests from rhinos during a hands-on experience.

The zoo has offered the hands-on experience daily since 2009 without any incidents prior to Tuesday.

Zoos go to great lengths to protect both animals and visitors by making sure exhibits are enclosed properly and cages are adequately maintained. Our Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton strongly urge parents and caretakers to closely observe children during every aspect of a zoo visit as defects can occur at any time, which can result in an animal or child coming into contact with one another and a serious injury occurring.

In Florida, premises liability laws allow injury victims to hold a property owner responsible for injuries that occur due to defects on the property. If the owners of the zoo knew, or reasonably should have known, about a hazard on the property, such as a cracked sidewalk, dangerous zoo ride, or unsafe animal enclosure, but did not take the necessary steps to repair it, the zoo could be liable for visitor injuries.

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A tenant is suing an Orlando apartment complex owner, alleging negligent infliction of emotional distress on the plaintiff due to a sexual assault.

The woman filed a complaint Dec. 6 in Orange County Circuit Court against the owners of an apartment complex, alleging the property controllers negligently failed to maintain a safe environment for its tenants.

According to the complaint, on May 31, 2017, the woman was legally in her apartment unit in Orlando when when an unknown man opened a damaged/broken sliding glass door while she was sleeping. The suit says the woman was attacked and sexually assaulted, leading to severe physical and mental trauma, plus continuing medical expenses.

The woman says the property owners failed to repair a damaged/broken glass sliding door despite numerous complaints and failed to install adequate security cameras.

There are terrible incidents of  sexual assaults, muggings and other violent crimes that happen in apartments and other public places. Sadly, many of these incidents occur because of inadequate or negligent security. The law requires property owners to take the necessary steps to ensure a safe environment for anyone who is on the property. This includes hiring security, placing security cameras, installing locks, repairing broken/damaged property conditions, and more. A property owner has a legal obligation to protect people against known dangers.

Many victims of violent crimes suffer emotional and mental injuries that far outlive their physical injuries.  Victims may suffer from significant depression and post traumatic stress disorders that leave them unable to resume their daily routines and activities for extended periods of time.  Because of this, it is imperative that any person who was the victim of a violent attack due to a property owner’s negligence gets the legal help they need before the statute of limitations expires.

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Investigators believe a casino shuttle boat fire that killed one woman and injured 14 other people off Florida’s Gulf Coast was caused by poor maintenance and the captain’s failure to shut down the engine sooner.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a report this month outlining the factors that led to a 42-year-old woman’s death and the destruction of the $450,000 boat. According to authorities, about 50 passengers jumped into the chilly waters off Port Richey in January when the Island Lady caught fire. It was heading to a Tropical Breeze casino boat in the Gulf of Mexico, where gambling is legal.

Problems outlined in the NTSB report include lack of company guidance regarding engine high-temperature alarms, lack of fire detection in unmanned spaces, insufficient preventive maintenance and insufficient crew training.

When you are harmed in a boating accident, you are suddenly left to endure injuries, medical bills and lost wages. When a fun excursion on the water results in serious injury or a wrongful death, our Florida Maritime Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can provide you with quality legal representation.

Maritime laws apply to boating accidents that occur at sea or on lakes or rivers. Maritime law is quite different from the law that applies to auto accidents or other accidents that occur on land.

The owners and operators of boats have a duty to warn passengers of dangers and to operate their boats properly. We represent clients who have been injured while on vacation or enjoying a day on the water in:

  • Cruise ships
  • Shuttle boats
  • Yachts
  • Deep sea fishing boats
  • Jet Skis and other personal watercrafts
  • Charter boats
  • Sail boats

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Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of a Los Angeles auxiliary bishop following an allegation of sexual misconduct with a child in the 1990s, officials said Wednesday.

Pasadena police recommended in 2002 that the man be charged with committing a lewd act on a child, but prosecutors declined to bring charges over a lack of evidence.

The current archbishop of Los Angeles said the archdiocese learned of the claim in 2005. The archdiocese forwarded the complaint to the Vatican office handling sex abuse cases.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith imposed precautionary measures against the man and a further investigation by the archdiocese’s independent review board found the allegation to be credible.

The 69-year-old has “consistently denied any wrongdoing.” The archdiocese said it had received no other allegations against the man.

The alleged misconduct occurred while the man was a parish priest in the 1990s and the claim was never directly brought to the archdiocese.

The resignation comes during a year in which the clerical abuse scandal has exploded anew.

Hours after the man’s resignation was announced, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said her office found 500 more Catholic clergy accused of sexually abusing children than the state’s archdioceses have publicly identified.

Sadly, priests, bishops, cardinals, and other clergy members can abuse their positions of trust. If your sexual abuser is or was in a position of authority in the Catholic Church, you are certainly not alone. At Whittel & Melton, our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Attorneys represent sexual abuse victims of all ages, including children, adults, and adults who were abused when they were children by teachers, coaches, priests, scout leaders, neighbors, relatives, or any other adults.

Our goal is to hold sexual abusers, their supervisors, and the organizations they work for accountable. While nothing we do can turn back the clock to undo the harm that a sexual abuser inflicts, the civil legal system provides one remedy, which is monetary compensation to the victim/survivor. We will fight aggressively to seek a sense of justice on your behalf.

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The video streaming company Netflix has been targeted in a fraudulent email that asks customers to update their account billing information. Police nationwide are warning residents of the phishing scam, which claims Netflix is “having some trouble” with the customer’s current billing information and that the customer’s account is “on hold.”

It includes an “update your account now” button that takes users to the fraudulent site.

“Yikes! That definitely didn’t come from us,” the company said in a tweet after a user sent a screenshot of an email received as part of the scam. “Any communications you get via email from Netflix will come from info@mailer.netflix.com.”

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