September 16, 2014

Cameras in Nursing Homes?

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

A recent article by the Chicago Tribune outlines the debate the State of Illinois is having in determining whether nursing homes should be required to allow video cameras to be installed in patient rooms in order to document the type of care the nurses are providing to their patients.

The article explains that there are two sides to the debate, and even patient advocates are skeptical that cameras are a good idea in all circumstances. Right now, there are about five states that allow a family to install a camera in their loved one’s room. Each state’s law is a little different, but a few things must be considered about the use of cameras in nursing homes, such as:

  • The loss of privacy that nursing home residents would suffer as a result of the cameras always being on;
  • The expense of the equipment and the occasional monitoring of the videos;
  • The effect, both positive and negative, that recording patient interactions may have on the nursing home as a workplace;
  • The admissibility of the tapes in civil or criminal suits against the nursing home and its employees; and
  • The privacy of visitors, guests, and nursing home faculty and how it may be affected by the cameras.

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September 9, 2014

Texas Nursing Home Blamed for Seven Deaths

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Towards the end of August, authorities filed suit against a Texas nursing home, claiming that the nursing home’s gross negligence caused the deaths of seven residents. According to a report by one local news source, attorneys for the families showed reporters some pictures of the deceased, one woman with maggots in her ear as a result of a massive infection she sustained at the nursing home.

Evidently, there are several other anecdotal stories that the plaintiffs have, including a bed sore on one man’s back so deep that his bone can be seen in the photograph. Other residents claim that they had been “soaked” in feces and urine for hours on end.

The nursing home’s record is not stellar, either. According to the report, they received four violations for “Level 4 Deficiencies,” meaning that a home resident’s wellbeing was put in immediate jeopardy. The home also has two wrongful death suits against it pending on appeal.

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September 5, 2014

Nurse Arrested for the Abuse of a 92-Year-Old Nursing Home Patient

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier last week in Syracuse, New York, a female nurse was arrested and charged with several crimes related to the alleged abuse of a 92-year-old patient. According to a report by one local news source, the nurse was not only charged with the abuse-related crimes but also with falsifying business records to cover up the abuse.

Evidently, back in March of this year, the nurse was assigned to care for the 92-year-old victim. On March 25, the patient did not want to move from her bed to a wheelchair, despite being asked to do so. The nurse grabbed the patient by her upper arms and forcefully placed her in the wheelchair.

The elderly patient then developed significant bruising. Other nursing home employees noticed the bruising and reported it to management, who assigned the nurse in question to investigate. Of course, rather than admit to abusing the patient, the nurse reported that the elderly woman was suffering from senile pupura, which is the purpling of the skin, a common condition in the elderly.

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August 25, 2014

Arkansas Nursing Home Cited for Abuse and Neglect

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month in Arkansas, a local nursing home and care facility was cited for abuse and neglect of patients by the Department of Health and Human Services. According to a report by one local news source, the nursing home was cited for several failures, including:

  • Failure to provide proper supervision during patient transfers, resulting in a high instance of patient injuries. In one instance, a patient fell off a mechanical lift and hit her head on the ground.
  • Inadequate nurse training regarding the equipment that is used to move patients to and from their beds. Employees reported not being instructed at all on how to use this equipment that is crucial to their job.

The Department of Health and Human Services interviewed several employees about the level of training they received to use the mechanical lifts used to move residents. Not one employee told the Department that he or she had been adequately trained to use the lifts. In fact, the only employees who reported receiving any training told the Department that they only received the training after the woman fell off the lift.

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August 18, 2014

New York Nursing Home Questioned After Another Patient Death

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

A Long Island nursing home is under investigation after a 71-year-old resident recently passed away while under the home’s care. According to a report by one local news source, this isn’t the first time the home has been in the news. Back in June of this year, several employees from this same nursing home were charged with criminal offenses related to the death of another resident.

Evidently, both the most recent death as well as the prior death occurred in the home’s 40-bed ventilation unit. Loved ones of the recently deceased asked employees to speak to someone about the previous death that occurred in the home, but they were told “absolutely not.”

As it turns out, earlier this year, several employees of the nursing home were charged with several offenses, including patient neglect and falsifying business records to cover up information about the woman’s death that occurred back in 2012. All involved pleaded not guilty to the offenses. These cases have not yet concluded.

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August 11, 2014

Jury Doles Out $14 Million Verdict Against Grossly Negligent Nursing Home

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Recently, a Massachusetts jury delivered one of the largest verdicts in state history to a family who lost their loved one after a nursing home failed to provide adequate care for her during her final years. According to a report by the Boston Globe, the nursing home, which is located in Danvers, provided grossly negligent care resulting in the woman’s death.
Evidently, the woman was taken to the hospital when she fell out of her wheelchair. Upon being examined by ER doctors, the woman was found to have an open pressure sore on her back, acute appendicitis, a severe urinary tract infection that had invaded her blood stream, kidney failure, uncontrolled diabetes, and severe dehydration.

Doctors did their best to treat the woman. However, she died one month after she was admitted to the hospital. The family of the woman brought suit, claiming that the home’s gross negligence in failing to properly care for their relative caused her death. The woman’s family recounts times that they expressed their concern over their loved one’s health but were told by nursing home employees that nothing was wrong.

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August 4, 2014

Elderly Man Suffers Sexual Abuse in Maine Nursing Home

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this week, a report from a local Maine source chronicled the sexual abuse that an elderly man suffered at a local nursing home. According to the report, the man’s family lived nearby, but, because of his declining health, could not provide him with the day-to-day assistance that he needed. They decided to place him in a nursing home in their neighborhood.

The elderly man, who was partially deaf and completely blind, was also losing control of his reality due to an aggressive case of dementia. He was therefore completely dependent upon the staff of the nursing home. When his family would come visit him, he would try to explain that there was a male nurse that would “take sexual favors from him.” But the family believed that this was the man’s illness speaking, rather than reality.

However, a few months later, another nursing home employee caught a man sexually abusing the elderly man. It is believed that the offender chose this man in particular because he was exceedingly vulnerable and had little to no way to effectively report the abuse.

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July 28, 2014

Staffing Shortage May Have Been Responsible for Boy’s Death at Maryland Group Home

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

A true tragedy unfolded earlier this month in a group home charged with caring for severely disabled foster children. According to a report by the Baltimore Sun, a 10-year-old boy died at the care facility because there were not enough caretakers to provided the required one-on-one care that the boy needed.

Evidently, as a young baby, the boy suffered a severe case of shaken baby syndrome. So severe, in fact, that his mother was sentenced to a 15-year prison sentence for her involvement. A group home was charged with his care and was provided funding for such care by the State. However, on July 2nd, the boy died when there was only one nurse on staff to care for all the home’s patients.

The staffing shortage came to light when an on-duty nurse came forward, telling all who would listen that she has complained to the staffing company several times without success. Their response, she said, was always, “We know, we know, we’ll fix it.” Now it is too late to fix anything.

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July 21, 2014

Nursing Home Nightmare in Oklahoma

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

One family in Oklahoma is having a hard time after getting their bruised and battered loved one out of the nursing home that they claim caused his condition. According to a report by a local Oklahoma news source, the family had a difficult time getting the nursing home to cooperate after they claimed that the nursing home abused their loved one.

Evidently, the man was in the nursing home for a short time recovering from a recent illness. While he was there, the family discovered that their loved one had been abused while in the care of the nursing home.

The elderly man—a Vietnam veteran—claims that one of the nurses in the facility punched him in his stomach; there are bruises to corroborate his story. Apparently, when the nursing home was confronted about the bruises, they could not explain where they came from. When the family claimed that their loved one was being abused by the nursing home, the nursing home stopped giving the elderly man his medication.

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July 14, 2014

North Carolina Cites Nursing Home for Inadequate Care and Abuse

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

happy-oldman-1-1194225-m.jpgIn yet another story of nursing home abuse, a North Carolina nursing home was recently cited by the State in relation to a patient’s death caused by injuries he sustained while fighting with a nursing home staff member. According to a report by a local news source, the nursing home was cited by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for “failing to keep residents free from abuse.”

Evidently, the elderly patient suffered from dementia, a seizure disorder, and other ailments. At some point during his stay, he was involved in a scuffle with nursing home staff and sustained serious injuries. He was hospitalized for his injuries, but 15 days later he died from the injuries. The patient died while in hospice care.

The nursing home denies any wrongdoing but commented that they will try to do better in the future.

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July 7, 2014

Condom Found in Nursing Home Resident’s Stomach

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Screen%20Shot%202014-07-01%20at%203.34.24%20PM.pngIn a truly disturbing story out of Chicago earlier this month, a nursing home is being sued after a procedure conducted on one of its patients revealed a condom inside the patient’s stomach. According to a report by CBS Chicago, the patient was a resident at Westchester Health And Rehabilitation Center between January 2010 and June 2012. At some point in June 2012, the patient was taken to Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital with gastrointestinal bleeding and low hemoglobin levels.

Upon conducting the required procedure, the doctor noticed something strange in the patient’s stomach. According to the doctor’s own description, “it look liked it was a condom and it was about 6 to 7 inches long with hardened material inside.”

The patient was bedridden and nonverbal at the time of the procedure, and had been so of some time before as well. He underwent the same procedure back in 2010, so the condom must have entered the man’s body sometime between January 2010 and June 2012. A loved one of the patient brought a lawsuit against both the nursing home as well as the hospital, because the man had been admitted to the hospital 14 times over the course of the two year period and it was possible it could have occurred at the hospital.

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June 24, 2014

Male Nurse Pleads Not Guilty to Mistreating a Patient

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month in El Dorado, Kansas, a male nurse named Geofrey Nyanswego appeared before a judge in Butler County and entered a not guilty plea to several counts of neglect and abuse of patients at Victoria Falls Nursing Center. Evidently, the man was charged with the abuse or neglect of at least one patient and also the false imprisonment of another.

According to a report by a local news source, after entering his guilty plea, the man was released on his own recognizance and will return to court later this summer for a preliminary hearing. If convicted of the offenses, he faces potential jail time as well as a fine of up to $100,000. He was forced to surrender his nursing license and is prohibited from contacting the nursing home management, its employees, or its patients.

The CEO of the nursing home told reporters that the man has been fired from his post and that two other nurses were suspended as a result of the investigation. The nursing home was fined $155,000 for its failure to meet regulations.

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