Our Baltimore County nursing home attorneys were stunned to see the recent details revealed in a nursing home abuse sentence from this month, where two women working at a Tennessee nursing facility were given a two-year prison sentence for engaging in the abuse of elders by taking video and photos of severely disabled residents on a cell phone in degrading and helpless positions.
According to the Knox News Sentinel, two Pigeon Forge Care and Rehabilitation Center nursing assistants, Mary Ann Burgess and April Longmire, 52 and 37, were indicted after the TBI, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation found that the two certified nursing assistants took photos at the center from 2007-2009 that were, according to Judge Richard Vance, the Sevier County Circuit Court Judge, shocking, offensive and reprehensible.
The duties of the two women included changing, dressing and feeding adults in the home who were severely disabled, from mild dementia to severe Alzheimer’s disease. According to the TBI, the photos were discovered after a cell phone was turned in and administrators tried to figure out who the missing phone belonged to. After TBI interviews, it was determined that Longmire was the owner of the phone, who is also stated to be one who instigated taking the photos.
Photos that were taken by Burgess and Longmire reportedly include images of naked elderly residents in helpless positions lying on the floor, in the bathroom, or in their beds, as well as abusive and degrading shots of some residents attempting to eat while food fell from their mouths.
George Ioannides, Assistant District Attorney General, stated that the elderly residents had the right to nursing home privacy and to decency. Ioannides also stated that Burgess and Longmire engaged in committing the abusive crimes for excitement and pleasure, and asked for the maximum punishment allowed—two years in prison.
As our Hartford, Maryland nursing home attorneys have reported in a recent blog, under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, all residents have the right to privacy and the right to be treated with dignity, as well as the right to nursing home treatment that is free from abuse and neglect.
Both women were fired from the nursing home after the incident and were prohibited from ever working in a health care facility again.
If you suspect that a resident or loved one in a Maryland or Washington D.C.-area nursing home is being abused, contact our experienced nursing home abuse and negligence attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC for a free consultation on what actions you can take.
Ex-nursing home workers get 2 years for photos, videos of helpless patients, Knox News Sentinel, January 19, 2011
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