Louisiana Court of Appeals opens the door for new evidence

The Louisiana Court of Appeals handed the victims of medical malpractice and nursing home neglect an important victory -- one that could potentially help many victims and their families make their cases.

According to the record, the case began in 2013 when a nursing home and hospice resident's family sued the facilities over medical malpractice and the patient's wrongful death. Family members of the victim, a woman, said that her medical care providers failed to prevent her from developing a stage four ulcer that eventually turned septic. She eventually died.

As it turned out, the Louisiana Department of Health made unannounced visits to both the nursing home and the hospice care facility in that same year -- and cited both for the poor quality of patient care. In specific, they noted that the medical professionals had failed to properly treat pressure sores with the appropriate care -- a fact that seems to be very on point for this particular case.

The woman's family sought to introduce the records of those official investigations into the record for deliberations during the lawsuit. The facilities objected, claiming that it would be merely "hearsay evidence."

The Louisiana Court of Appeals disagreed. As the court noted, one exemption to "hearsay" evidence is an "investigation of a particular complaint, case or incident, including an investigation into the facts and circumstances on which the present proceeding is based."

The new ruling may be helpful for the victims of medical malpractice or nursing home neglect to receive some measure of justice. If the victim is deceased, which is often the case, the remaining family often has to struggle to find evidence of nursing home neglect that can be presented in court. Hopefully, this ruling will ease that burden.

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