A nursing home in California has been in the headlines lately for allegedly abandoning its facility, and therefore patients. One patient suffering from dementia went missing for several days, until he was finally located by law enforcement officers over 30 miles away.
Government officials began a criminal investigation into elder abuse at the closed residential care facility, where fourteen patients were eventually moved from hospitals to other skilled nursing homes.
The facility had reportedly been battling with California’s elder care oversight agency for months over the state’s attempt to revoke their license over a host of unfixed violations at both this location and another one run by the same family. The lawyer representing the family disputes any allegations of wrongdoing, and alleges that the home was properly staffed for the small number of mostly indigent residents still waiting to find a new place to live.
Once officials arrived at the facility, they discovered that the only remaining staff left to monitor the residents were a cook and a janitor, with no professional caregivers. Apparently, no one had notified the police or paramedics that the home was closed until there had already been three routine visits. The conditions were reportedly unsanitary and deplorable when officials finally arrived. According to at least one former employee, conditions had been substandard for quite some time.
Investigators from an FBI health care fraud unit and the state Attorney General’s office are working together with local law enforcement officials to conduct a thorough investigation.
Sadly, the level of alleged abandonment that occurred in this case is one of the most blatant examples of negligence that has been reported in nursing homes recently. The act of leaving residents without adequately trained professional staff, if true, is so troublesome, that it will likely result in criminal charges, as well as potential civil lawsuits on behalf of the patients.
Even though this incident occurred in California, it could just as easily have happened in Maryland. The owners of the home alleged that the home was closed, and state agencies are being blamed for failure to supervise the transition of patients from the home to new locations in an appropriate manner.
Residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities often have complex medical issues, particularly so because they are typically older individuals. It remains unclear how the owner/operators of the home could have felt that a cook and janitor would be adequately prepared to handle any potential medical concerns with residents, had they arisen. In fact, emergency personnel were contacted when one patient had a respiratory issue. It remains unknown what other complications took place due to the abnormal manner in which this home was closed.
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. This story is demonstrative of how potentially dangerous situations can arise within nursing homes literally overnight. 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:
Nursing Assistant Convicted of Abusing 89 Year Old Nursing Home Patient, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published October 25, 2013
Five Deaths Allegedly Result of Nursing Home Neglect, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published October 18, 2013