Warning Signs Of Abuse At The Doctor’s Officeentry-title

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American families rely on their healthcare providers to provide quality care for their family members. Going to the doctor’s office for a regular checkup should be a carefree and casual experience, and should not leave anyone feeling unsafe or manipulated. Unfortunately, sexual abuse has become an under recognized issue in the medical practice community. For you and your family members, it’s imperative to know the warning signs that your doctor is committing sexual abuse, or attempting to sexually abuse you. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Prohibit any inappropriate physical contact: Your physician knows that any sexual conduct between a doctor and his or her patient is strictly prohibited. However, this line can easily be crossed if your physician is on a certain comfort level with you and he or she feels like they can safely cross that line. When you realize that your doctor is touching you more than required, recognize what’s happening and reprimand them.
  • Question any bizarre exams or procedures: Visiting a new doctor’s office is a new experience in and of itself, so when your doctor starts performing strange activities and procedures, it can be hard to decipher what’s really going on. However, if your doctor asks to do a random physical exam that’s unrelated to your visit, or requires you to undress at inappropriate times during your appointment without medical justification, you have the right to sue for sexual misconduct.
  • Know your privacy rights: A familiar form of sexual abuse from your doctor is if he or she makes inappropriate comments about or to you relating to your sexual history or any other personal information. Unless it’s directly relating to your visit, your doctor should respect your privacy and not ask anything sexual (nor should he or she share their sexual history with you).

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Out

Speaking out to your physician and stopping him from being physically or vocally inappropriate is easier said than done. Sexual abuse cases in the medical community have been hidden and pushed under the rug; our society has blind respect for physicians and we don’t want to believe that such a respected people would exploit us.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse in the medical community, contact the lawyers at Gnau & Tamez immediately so we can help hold your medical provider accountable.

Trying To Make Custody Work Without A Legal Battleentry-title

New custody trends with working moms

With women getting a strong foothold in the workforce and often becoming the primary breadwinners in some families, traditional child custody outcomes have begun to shift. The “tender years” doctrine that provided for favor towards mothers during custody battles was abolished by most states by 1994, and now working women are finding it a liability to be career focused when they enter into a custody battle.

A shift in traditional roles has created more stay at home fathers, and more mothers who are becoming involved in careers that can often be demanding. Unfortunately, this shift in trends can significantly affect a mother in the event of a divorce. In a recent article called “Custody Lost” by Sally Abrahms for WorkingMother.com, one woman found out the effects of pursuing her career and how the court now views working mothers in child custody proceedings.

After a marriage of 10 years, Julie found herself in the midst of a custody battle to keep her children.  She had worked hard for years to support her children while her husband was unemployed and was shocked when he filed for primary custody during their divorce. Throughout the proceedings, her successful career was portrayed as so demanding that she was neglecting her children and that her husband marketable skills had been reduced due to not being in the workforce for five years. While Julie eventually felt confident of the proceedings she was shocked to find that the court had ruled in her husband’s favor and decided that her career might interfere with primary custody.

What are the best steps for making custody work?

Unfortunately long, drawn out child custody cases can occur during divorces causing both the children and the parents to suffer throughout the process. With the changing trend in court custody cases, how can working women find ways to make custody work without suffering the consequences of a devastating court decision?  If you are faced with a possible custody dispute, following the steps below may help get you through deciding custody without a long protracted battle.

Try to focus on parenting, not on the divorce

When discussing with your ex how you will tackle the custody and visitation schedule, make sure you focus on what is best to do as parents and leave out the disagreements that led you to the split.  Discuss your child’s schedule, school routine, and other issues that would affect where they should hold primary residence or what visitation schedule will work best to cause as little disruption as possible in their lives as possible.

Don’t use the children as leverage

Emotions can be extremely heated during a divorce, and one of the easiest ways to hurt the other parent is by withholding their ability to see or spend time with their child. Just because the relationship did not work out between you and your spouse does not mean that each parent’s relationship with their child should not be able to succeed.  While it may be hard to always keep a happy face when around your children, learn to at least be cordial to each other when they are around and make sure you do not resort to making them messengers or information gatherers during the divorce.

Is mediation a good option?

While what led to your divorce may seem like there is nothing you will be able to agree on, when it comes to your children, it is worth putting in some effort.  Many parents are now testing out the waters of mediation before moving to a court child custody case.  It is important to remember that odds are the best person to be a partner in raising your children is your ex so trying to work out a visitation or custody schedule during mediation can not only make things go quicker and smoother but will often be less stressful on the children.

The vital phrase to remember is “hope for the best, but plan for the worst.”  Despite your best efforts, there may be no way to avoid a child custody court case, so it is essential to be prepared from the beginning.

California Nursing Home Sued For Discharging Resident Illegallyentry-title

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There are many forms of nursing home abuse that may take place in a California long-term care facility. Physical abuse, mental abuse and sexual abuse are three that residents should never be exposed to. Facilities are inspected for violations that lead to harm, but sometimes, fines are not enough to force compliance.

According to a recently filed lawsuit against a California nursing home, a resident was neglected, abused and sexually harassed during her time at the facility. Not only that, she claims she was discharged without adequate notice and without a plan for continuing care. This last action is not an isolated incident, as the California Department of Public Health has issued three citations to the nursing home in 2017 for the same infraction.

Before a California nursing home can discharge a resident, it must give a 30-day notice along with the exact date that the discharge will occur. This provides the resident or his or her family member to appeal the discharge or find a new living situation. The facility must make sure that the resident has a safe place to go, and that the new location has the ability to accommodate the resident’s health needs. The transfer must be “safe and orderly.”

When an elderly person sustains an injury, or psychological or emotional harm because of abuse or neglect at a nursing home, family members may be able to hold the responsible parties liable for the ensuing medical bills and pain and suffering. Many people seek the assistance of an attorney in filing a claim against a long-term care facility.

Source: Fresno Bee, “This nursing home sent her back home where cockroaches and maggots had attacked her,” Barbara Anderson, Nov. 3, 2017

Re-Homing: When Your Kid Wants To Live With The Other Parententry-title

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Child custody can be one of the most difficult things to handle during a divorce proceeding, and it can become even more complicated when after custody has been decided, the child later wishes that they could live with the other, non-custodial parent.  In the article “Dealing With A Child Who Wants To Change Residency,” by the Separated Parenting Access & Resource Center, it is said that the cause for a child to want to change custody is often due to emotional conflict between the child and custodial parent.

“When a child’s needs and desires to be with the non-custodial parent are stronger than the desire to be with the custodial parent, this is a clear sign that the child is having emotional conflict and that something is not right in the relationship with the custodial parent.”

What factors can lead to a good case for re-homing?a good case for re-homing?

The court will be extremely cautious when changing the decided custody arrangement for children from the age of nine to 12 unless severe emotional distress or conflict can be proven, but there are factors, that if present, may persuade the court to re-evaluate their original decision.  Some of the factors include:

  • The noncustodial parent lives in the same area
  • The child is strong willed
  • The child is having problems at school due to the conflict
  • The noncustodial parent can prove they can provide better for the child
  • Other siblings already live with the noncustodial parent
  • The child is suffering from physical or mental abuse in their current living situation
  • Third parties such as teachers, therapists, etc. support the change

Factors that could hurt your chances for changing your child’s residency

While there are factors that can prompt the court to look into the change of residency, there are also factors that can cause them to deny the claim quickly.  Some factors that can work against a noncustodial parent gaining custody include:

  • The noncustodial parent lives a distance from the child’s current residence
  • The child is performing well in their current school
  • The noncustodial parent cannot prove they can take care of the child better
  • The other siblings in the home do not want to change residence
  • There is no push from third parties to make the change

Determine why your child wants to make the move

It is essential to ascertain the reasons that your child wants to make a move whether it is abuse, neglect, emotional difficulties, or the in the inability to visit with the noncustodial parent as much as they would like.  Also, determine how strongly they feel about wanting to move.

Seek third-party involvement

Have your child speak to third parties to help get an honest, impartial assessment of what the problem may be and how best to help your child.  This can include doctors, neighbors, teachers, therapists, or other agencies.  This information is also an important piece to have if you need to present the court with evidence of why the move is necessary.

Develop a sound parenting plan

The court will not only want to have validations of the reasons that it will be in the child’s best interest to move but will also want to make sure that you have a plan to address the issues and rectify the situation in the child’s new environment.  This can include things like therapy plans or plans to improve school work or school behavior.  This will show the court your desire to act in the best interest of your child and also how you plan to do so.

Have a home environment evaluation completed by a qualified professional

When a child is moved into a new residence, it is important to the court that the home meets the needs to care for the child and is safe and appropriate.  Such things as a child having their own bedroom as well as having everything they need to feel safe and provided for is vital when placement is being determined.  With this evaluation, you will be able to confidently enter court knowing your home is considered an approved environment for your child.