Photo of Sherri Warfel

Sherri L. Warfel is a Shareholder and trial attorney in Stark & Stark’s Nursing Home Litigation Group. Ms. Warfel concentrates her practice in representing victims of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and other medical facilities. She handles cases involving claims of pressure ulcers, fractures or injuries from preventable falls, infection, abuse, and death. Ms. Warfel also maintains a personal injury practice for clients injured in accidents. She is a seasoned trial attorney and litigator who has settled and tried hundreds of cases in her years of practice.

As our country navigates its way through the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear that nursing home patients make up one of our most vulnerable populations. Consequently, it is important that nursing homes be vigilant in the care of their patients, and strictly adhere to proper treatment protocols and standards.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

The New York Times has recently published an article about wrongful patient discharges and evictions from nursing homes, sometimes referred to as “patient dumping.”   The article was  published on June 21 and highlights the evictions of patients from nursing homes, whose medical bills and expenses are paid by Medicaid, to homeless shelters and unsafe locations.  In some cases, no advance notice is given to the patients or their families.   “We’re dealing with unsafe discharges, whether it be to a homeless shelter or to unlicensed facilities, on a daily basis, and COVID-19 has made this all more urgent,” Molly Davies, the Los Angeles ombudsman, whose office works with residents at about 400 nursing homes, told The Times.


Continue Reading Nursing Home Discharges and Evictions Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic

An investigation has been launched by the State Attorney General’s Office into the handling of COVID-19 by nursing homes in New Jersey. The investigation will focus on both civil and criminal liability and penalties for these facilities. The Office will be investigating the lack of staffing and mishandling that may have led to infection and death of patients, as well as the lack of transparency and failure to communicate with patients’ families during this distressing time.

Continue Reading Attorney General Investigates State’s Nursing Homes – Hotbed of COVID-19 Fatalities

It is important to recognize the hard work of nurses in the fight against COVID-19, but in nursing homes, problems continue to be discovered.

Unfortunately, we saw a spike of more than 1,500 deaths of nursing home patients from early to mid- April according to recent reports. As is being recognized, the nursing home population is vulnerable to the pandemic due to their age, or already compromised health. However, it should not go unnoticed that the problems some nursing homes are now experiencing are due in part to long-standing inadequacies in those facilities prior to the spread of COVID-19.


Continue Reading Long-Standing Inadequacies Lead to Further Issues Within Nursing Homes

We commend the nurses and medical personnel on the front lines fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as long time advocates for nursing home patients, we are aware of some of the issues developing in already problematic nursing homes. Some of these issues are being revealed by the media.

Continue Reading Problematic Developments in Nursing Homes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

When we think about workplace safety issues, it’s easy to default to a mental image of construction workers or firefighters. Those jobs have very visible risks thanks to big machinery and precarious working conditions. However, caretakers at nursing homes face serious workplace risks as well. This is due largely to employers’ and owners’ failures to adequately staff these facilities.

Continue Reading Staff Shortages Threaten Residents at Nursing Homes

Falls of patients in nursing homes are often preventable, yet they are still the leading cause of injuries in seniors who are residents there. Research shows elderly adults are four times more likely to die of fall related injuries if they live in a nursing home as compared to those who live at home. Part of that is due to the home’s improper follow up investigation and care, and part is due to its failure to implement proper fall prevention.

Continue Reading Preventable Falls in Nursing Homes

Michael Vecchio, a 29 year-old patient at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in Parsippany, died after 3 months of hospitalization. The patient did not have a terminal illness or life-threatening condition–he was admitted because he suffered from schizophrenia. After weeks of not eating, he passed away.

The facility pointed to privacy laws when preventing Michael’s family from knowing he stopped eating until he was rushed in an ambulance to Morristown Medical Center on Jan. 24, 2017. His mother, Beth Vecchio, said a nurse told her that Michael suffered severe stomach pain “for a few days” before Greystone finally called the ambulance. Michael died twenty hours later.


Continue Reading Preventable Death at N.J. Health Facility: Schizophrenic Patient Starved for 30 Days

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are an all too common occurrence in nursing homes and extended care facilities. The Federal Government has made a determination that “bedsores,” should not happen in nursing homes. See 42 C.F.R. 483.25(b)(ii) (stating “a resident . . . does not develop pressure sores unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable.”)

Those who are in a nursing home or extended care facility are usually there because there is a need for care beyond what can be provided at home. Elderly patients are especially prone to these potentially life-threatening sores, given their age, lack of mobility, thinner skin, and medical issues. However, bedsores can often be prevented with the right care plan in place. Their occurrence can be a sign of nursing home neglect.


Continue Reading Are Bedsores a Sign of Nursing Home Neglect?

Late last December, a nurse at Hacienda HealthCare in Arizona panicked and called 911 as a patient unexpectedly gave birth. The 29 year old patient, who has been in a vegetative state since age 3, delivered a healthy baby boy. A police investigation concluded that one of her caregivers, a 32 year-old male nurse, raped the patient several times and fathered the child. The victim’s attorneys filed a $45 million notice of claim against the state of Arizona in late May.

After giving birth in the nursing home, the victim and baby were transferred to a nearby hospital. According to the hospital, the baby’s birth was “a repeat parous event,” meaning the victim had likely been pregnant before.


Continue Reading Incapacitated Woman Gave Birth in Arizona Nursing Home: Attorneys seeking $45M from the State