Earlier this year in Washington State, a nursing home was fined after it was discovered that the home failed to report resident-on-resident sexual abuse that was occurring in the facility. According to one local news report, the allegations are that one resident in particular sexually abused several other residents on more than one occasion. However, despite mandatory reporting laws, the employees failed to notify the authorities.
Evidently, one of the abused residents is a bed-bound dementia patient who has a difficult time speaking, standing, and communicating with others. On one of the days in question, investigators discovered that another resident had snuck into her room, dropped his pants around his ankles, and forced the woman to touch his genitals. When an employee caught the man in the act, she yelled out for him to stop, but no one outside of the nursing home walls knew of the abuse.
The woman’s sister summed up what she believed the nursing home’s duty was to their patients: “You are responsible for this adult. People are paying and they expect you to take good care of their family.”
Indeed, in the wake of reports such as these, local politicians and elder-rights attorneys have urged legislators take elder abuse more seriously, also dismissing the possibility that there was consent among the victims. In fact, one local prominent attorney told reporters that it was his opinion that the events were intentionally covered up to keep them from the authorities and the media.
Elder Abuse in Maryland Nursing Homes
Unfortunately, while these disturbing events took place in Washington State, there is nothing to distinguish Maryland nursing homes from their counterparts across the country. Each year, thousands of nursing home residents in Maryland are abused or neglected in violation of their statutory and common-law rights. Many times, these incidents go unreported for a variety of reasons, from residents’ inability to communicate to embarrassment.
Nursing homes accept a duty to care for their residents that extends past refraining from committing abusive acts. Nursing home employees are held accountable for the safety of residents—even when the threat is from another resident. In cases where a nursing home sweeps allegations of resident-on-resident abuse under the carpet, the nursing home may be liable for the abuse as well as the harm caused.
Is Your Loved One Showing Signs of Abuse?
If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home, and you believe that they are showing signs of elder abuse, make sure you do all that you can to ensure their safety as soon as possible. Once they are secure, contact a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney to discuss your options. You or your loved one may be entitled to monetary recovery for the injuries sustained. In some cases where especially egregious conduct is involved, punitive damages against the nursing home may be appropriate. To learn more about Maryland nursing home cases, call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation with an attorney today.
See More Blog Posts:
Family of Nursing Home Resident Sues Facility After Accusations of Rape Substantiated, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published February 27, 2015.
Sexual Assault of Elders Occurs Most Often in Nursing Homes in Maryland, Nationwide, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published March 26, 2015.