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Medical Malpractice - Breach of Security

Karns & Kerrison

Although this Medical Malpractice case occurred in New Mexico and was not handled by the Karns & Kerrison, we found it interesting and wanted to share it with our readers here on the blog.
A home care agency could be sued for failing to perform a criminal background check on an employee where a disabled patient died of a drug overdose while in his care, the New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled in reversing a summary judgment.

The agency contracted to provide long-term home health care to a 36-year-old quadriplegic. It hired the patient's caretaker without conducting a criminal background check. Although the caretaker stated on his job application that had never been convicted of a felony, he actually had multiple felony convictions, including aggravated assault and burglary.

The caretaker stole prescriptions from the patient. When the patient was hospitalized with pneumonia the caretaker took the patient out of the hospital early and gave her a fatal injection of heroin.

The court indicated the agency had a duty to check the caretaker's background.

This case was decided in New Mexico and the result would be the same in Rhode Island.

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