Sexual Abuse in Kentucky Nursing Homes

In recent news, that our Hartford, Maryland Nursing Home Injury Attorneys have been following, a nursing home abuse lawsuit has brought to light the problem of unreported sexual abuse incidents in Kentucky nursing homes.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Mae Campbell, an 88-year old, was sexually abused two times while being a resident at Hazard Nursing Home. Campbell suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and was reportedly sitting in a hallway last year, in view of other staff members and a nursing supervisor, when a male nursing home resident sexually assaulted her by ejaculating onto her face. She was reportedly sexually abused three months later by another male resident of the home who had allegedly entered her room to perform a similar sexual act. The nurse on duty was told by her supervisor not to discuss the incident with anyone because Campbell had not been harmed.

Under Kentucky law, staff members and officials of nursing homes are legally mandated to report nursing home neglect or abuse. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services issued the home a Type A citation, claiming that Hazard Nursing Home did not follow state regulations and failed to protect Campbell from sexual contact that was unwanted, failed to protect her health and safety as a resident, failed to report the sexual abuse allegations to the necessary state agencies, and failed to investigate the sexual abuse allegations thoroughly.

The Herald-Leader reported that Campbell’s sexual abuse was only discovered after depositions in a wrongful death case led to a former nurse’s aide’s description of Campbell’s sexual assault, where the former employee claimed that she stopped working at Hazard Nursing Home after the incident, as she thought the home should have protected Campbell better. Another former nurse also admitted to witnessing Campbell’s other assault. She was told not to discuss it with anybody—because Campbell had not been harmed.

In May, Campbell’s son filed a lawsuit against the home, claiming that he and his family were not contacted by the home about the sexual assault and abuse, nor were the authorities, and only learned of the assaults after the deposition. Mae Campbell reportedly even complained after one incident that she had a sore throat, that her inner thighs were bruised, and that men were trying to harm her in the home, but the complaints were reportedly never looked into. Campbell’s son claimed that if he had known what was happening, he would have immediately removed his mother from the home. The home’s citation is also being reviewed for the possibility of criminal prosecution.

The Herald-Leader investigated citations that were issued by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services since 2007, and found that nine nursing homes in Kentucky received Type A citations for nursing home sexual abuse and assault. Two other cases of sexual abuse were recorded that did not receive Type A citations. The sexual abuse in the cases was reportedly committed by nursing home staff, visitors, residents, and even a registered sex offender. These cases went unchecked despite warnings to nursing home officials, by staff and family members. Since 2007, three of these cases have been prosecuted criminally.

In the state of Maryland, if a nursing home fails to protect residents from nursing home sexual abuse that can result in resident injury or death, the nursing home could be held liable for Maryland nursing home negligence or wrongful death. Our attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers represent victims and their families who wish to recover personal injury compensation from nursing home negligence and harm. Contact us today.

A Failure to Protect: Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes, Lexington Herald-Leader, July 25, 2010

Related Web Resources:

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

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