When someone is admitted to a Maryland nursing home or care facility, it is typically because they cannot perform the necessary daily tasks to lead a normal life. In many – but not all – cases, younger residents suffer from severe intellectual disabilities that render them incapable of providing consent for sexual intercourse. However, there have recently been reports of pregnancy among nursing home residents.
Last December, a nurse at an Arizona nursing home called the police in a panic when a resident unexpectedly gave birth. Apparently, this was the first time anyone at the nursing home knew that the woman, who was non-verbal due to a near-drowning accident, was pregnant. As it turns out, the pregnancy was the result of the resident being raped while at the nursing home.
One of the many questions this tragic situation raises is, how could the nursing home fail to notice that the resident was pregnant? The woman’s family wonders the same thing, and has filed a claim against the State of Arizona based on the state’s failure to provide sufficient oversight.
According to a recent news report covering the newly filed case, recently discovered evidence revealed that this was not the resident’s first pregnancy. The woman’s family claims that the nursing home should have picked up on signs of sexual abuse and taken steps to prevent it. Additionally, the complaint alleges that it was negligent for nursing home staff members – including doctors who saw the woman ten times during her third-trimester – to fail to notice that she was pregnant. Specifically, the family claims that there were 83 opportunities for staff members to diagnose the woman’s pregnancy and provide her with the necessary medical attention. Staff members missed each of these opportunities.
Apparently, the resident’s family members had previously requested that she be cared for by female nurses. The facility acknowledged the request, and told the family it would comply; however, the request was ignored. Instead, the facility allowed unsupervised male caregivers, including the man who allegedly raped her, to provide for the resident’s needs.
In the wake of this tragedy, the nursing home told reporters that it has taken steps to prevent similar things from happening in the future, such as installing cameras, retraining staff members, and providing for additional security.
Is Your Loved One in Danger?
If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home, and fear that they are in danger of sexual abuse or other physical abuse, contact the dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we handle a wide range of nursing home abuse and neglect cases, including those involving allegations of sexual assault. We understand the sensitive nature of these claims, and carefully approach each case to ensure that our clients are comfortable. Our skilled attorneys aggressively negotiate and, when necessary, litigate claims to ensure that those responsible for the horrific abuse are held accountable. To learn more, and to speak with an attorney about your situation, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.