Elder abuse

Are Emergency Rooms Missing The Signs of Elder Abuse?

December 13, 2016 by James McHugh, Jr.
Philadelphia Elder Abuse

There are few things more devastating than the thought of our elderly loved ones being abused. Unfortunately, elder abuse does happen and it is far too common. Approximately one out of every 10 seniors experiences some form of abuse. Despite this, emergency rooms formally diagnose abuse in senior patients in very few cases each year, which has left many wondering if emergency rooms are missing the signs of abuse.

A recent study led by Dr. Timothy Platts-Mills, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine, revealed emergency room doctors only diagnose abuse in one out of 7,700 visits by elderly patients.

Because many victims of elder abuse are far removed from their loved ones, emergency room doctors play a crucial role in identifying and stopping the abuse. Unfortunately, with more than 23 million emergency room visits from seniors each year, emergency room doctors may not be up to task of identifying abuse in senior patients.

Why Do Emergency Room Doctors Miss Elder Abuse?

Doctors often attribute common signs of abuse to old age. Because elderly patients are usually frail or suffer from mental health conditions, doctors might blame unusual bruises on falls or other common accidents. However, some signs of abuse cannot be mistaken for simple accidents and doctors must take the time to evaluate each patient carefully.

Signs of Elder Abuse

While the source of bruising might be difficult for a doctor to identify, there are other telltale signs of elder abuse to look out for. If the caretaker of an elderly patient refuses to leave the patient’s side, or if the elderly patient seems timid around the caretaker, it could indicate an abusive relationship.

Other signs of elder abuse can include frequent visits to the emergency room for bruises, abrasions, and broken bones. While everyone has accidents, frequent visits could mean physical abuse is taking place.

Lawyers For Philadelphia Elder Abuse

Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. If you suspect your loved one is experiencing Philadelphia elder abuse, call the experienced elder abuse attorneys at Lopez McHugh LLP today. We can help put a stop to the abuse and get your loved one the compensation they need.

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