Three female former certified nursing assistants are accused of taking photographs of disrobed nursing home patients’ body parts, spraying them with water and filming the stunts for their own entertainment. A fifth individual has been charged for failing to report the incident.
Three of the women pleaded guilty to two counts of willful abuse, neglect or exploitation of a dependent adult. They each face one to two years in prison for the crimes.
The fourth individual pleaded guilty for failing to report the abuse, and faces 11 months and 29 days in jail for the misdemeanor charge.
The pleas were entered without an agreement from the state; therefore the womens’ sentences will be for the judge to decide at the sentencing hearing, currently scheduled to take place in September.
The fifth individual, who was also charged in the incident, pleaded guilty to the charges shortly after being charged.
The incidents reportedly occurred in December 2011 and January 2012. The women were charged after nursing home officials discovered that patients were being sprayed with water, and the incidents went unreported. Additional allegations claim that the women took photos of patients’ bare buttocks and breasts. According to information released after the women’s arrests, two of the women worked the night shift together and began the abuse because they thought the victims’ reactions, “would be comical.” They also reportedly took photos and videos of the incidents and showed those to other people.
The nursing home was penalized with a period of suspension of new admissions and a one-time civil penalty of $3,000 assessed by the Tennessee Department of Health, the organization responsible for regulating nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state.
Unfortunately in these cases, due to the recordings of the alleged incidences, it remains unclear if the footage of these poor patients remains at large, and just who has viewed the footage. The abuse has the potential to continue. Just what motivated these individuals to humiliate the patients under their care remains difficult to comprehend.
This case is an example of nursing home abuse, as opposed to negligence, and fits rather squarely within the federal definition. According to 42 CFR § 488.301, abuse is defined as “the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish.” This definition of abuse can include anything from sexual to mental abuse. The act of spraying water on patients can be viewed as a form of intimidation or punishment resulting in mental anguish. This is particularly true considering the probable reactions that the patients had at the time of these attacks. No one deserves to be treated this way. If your loved one has suffered abuse within a nursing home, you may be able to file a lawsuit on their behalf in order to seek retribution for the harm that they have been caused.
If you suspect that an elderly friend or relative living in a nursing home or assisted living facility within the Maryland or the Washington D.C. areas might be suffering from nursing home neglect or abuse, contact the experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC immediately. Our law firm has many years of experience advocating on behalf of victims who have suffered as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect within nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Incidents of nursing home abuse or neglect are rarely isolated incidents, and typically indicate a systemwide problem. Contact us today in order to schedule your complimentary and confidential initial consultation. You can reach us by calling (800) 654-1949 or contact us through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Man Wins $1.1 Billion for Mother’s Death in Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published July 26, 2013
21 Nursing Home Employees Face Charges for Allegedly Abusing Alzheimer’s Patients, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published July 19, 2013