Since 1986, at least 297 personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuits have been filed against Wisconsin nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to an analysis by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
Attorneys for families of residents say that facilities’ failure to report serious injuries or deaths related to abuse or neglect is not uncommon. Far more often, they say, the state health department only learns about a case of alleged neglect or abuse after a family member files a complaint. Advocates for health care providers stress that incidents of neglect and abuse are extremely rare, and can come to regulators’ attention in a variety of ways.
A new Wisconsin law, which went into effect in February 2011, bars families from using state health investigation records in state civil suits filed against long-term providers, including nursing homes and hospices. It also makes such records inadmissible in criminal cases against health care providers accused of neglecting or abusing patients.
Planned Parenthood has not provided abortions by medication since April, claiming a new abortion law’s language was too vague to comply with. As a result, many women have had surgical abortions instead and face delays in making appointments.
Gov. Scott Walker has hired private legal counsel to represent a county district attorney being sued for allegedly violating a state open government law — a move made necessary because the DA has sued the state for allegedly violating another open government statute.
In September, a family’s vacation in Wisconsin Dells turned tragic when an infant touched the glass front of a fireplace and suffered third-degree burns at a resort hotel. Manufacturers of gas fireplaces are being buffeted by lawsuits and the threat of federal regulation amid heightened concerns about the risk of burns from the appliances, which can get hot enough to melt skin.