The Center for Investigative Reporting made a finding that California is failing to protect patients living in care facilities across the state. What they discovered was unsettling. By searching through years of records, the group determined that investigators from the Department of Public Health failed to look into accusations of abuse by nursing assistants. Documents show state regulators effectively shelved more than 900 cases from Southern California, including some of the most alarming allegations involving suspicious deaths. Data reportedly shows that most of investigations conducted do not result in action against caregivers, the number of caregivers’ licenses revoked has gone down, and that fewer cases have been referred for prosecution.
One such case involved a 95 year old woman who checked herself into a Pomona assisted living facility. The woman is believed to have died as a result of injuries she sustained from employees of the home. While the facility claims that the woman died as a result of injuries she sustained from a fall, family members and even a former nursing director believe that the woman was repeatedly punched, especially in the face. The former employee stated, “Her face looked like Mohammed Ali did a dance on it. And you could see knuckles.”
Despite questions surrounding her death, the Department of Health closed the case in February, seven years after the woman died. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s report ultimately concluded that the allegations of assault could not be ruled out, but no charges have been filed. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has decided to take a closer look at the woman’s death, and as a result has opened a homicide investigation.
What this case clearly demonstrates, is that state regulators cannot always be counted on for keeping track of the abuses going on within nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Even if the state has guidelines or requirements that the homes must follow, if no one is checking to ensure these standards are being met, they may as well not exist at all. This is why it is critical to check in on your loved ones or elderly friends regularly and often, in order to ensure that they are not being abused or neglected. If you do suspect abuse, speak with a nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible.
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. Many times a case of abuse or neglect is not an isolated case, but rather evidence of a more widespread or systematic failure. 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 in Nursing Home Dies After Police Tase Him, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published August 27, 2013
“Nursing Home” Administrator Arrested for Numerous Criminal Charges, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published August 20, 2013