March 19, 2012

A 77-year-old Alzheimer’s patient, who had been married to her 81-year-old husband for 60 years, was admitted into a California nursing home for care so that she could recover from pneumonia. At the time of her admission to the nursing home, it was known that the woman was prone to chronic constipation due to her medications that required the nursing home staff to closely monitor the woman’s health.

The woman was a resident of the nursing home for only two weeks until she had to be transferred to the hospital where she was diagnosed with severe fecal impaction. The woman died while in the hospital in March, 2008. The doctors at the hospital also noted unexplained bruises on the woman’s body.

The woman’s death was originally investigated by the California Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse in 2008 but criminal charges were not brought at that time. Following a news story that discussed the woman’s nursing home care and death, the nursing home’s former director of nursing and a nurse at the nursing home were criminally charged with felony elder abuse. The former director of nursing’s bail was set at $75,000.00. It was unclear whether the nurse had been arrested yet.

During the four years between the woman’s death and the criminal charges being filed against the two nursing home employees, the nursing home was sold from one corporation to another corporation. Perhaps the woman’s surviving husband will finally see justice obtained for his beloved wife.


Texas Nursing Home Criminal Charges

On February 3, 2011, a 71-year-old nursing home resident in Texas who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia wandered away from his nursing home and froze to death. A surveillance camera showed the man leaving the nursing home without supervision during the early morning. Two of the Texas nursing home’s employees were criminally charged with injury to the elderly (a third degree felony) and were arrested as a result of the incident (two of the nursing home employees resigned from their employment shortly after the man’s death).


Kentucky Nursing Home Criminal Charges

The administrator of a Kentucky nursing home was criminally charged for failing to report the suspected sexual abuse of an elderly resident of the nursing home in 2009. In August, 2009, an 88-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease was found in the room of another resident (male) who allegedly sexually assaulted her. This alleged incident was discovered purely by accident: an attorney who was taking the depositions of two former nursing home employees in an unrelated wrongful death case described this incident as well as another unreported incident involving the same 88-year-old female resident. The attorney contacted the woman’s family to provide the information to them.


Kentucky Nursing Home ‘s Alleged Criminal Activity

A medical malpractice lawsuit was filed earlier this year against a Kentucky nursing home regarding  an 87-year-old female dementia patient who was almost entirely immobile. The medical malpractice claim alleges that a family member of the woman’s roommate called the nursing home on October 21, 2010 to report that a nursing aide may have sexually assaulted the woman.

According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, the nursing home did not contact the woman’s family, did not immediately suspend the nursing aide pending an investigation, did not promptly contact the police or report the alleged sexual abuse, and did not immediately transport the woman to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. The nursing home staff bathed the woman and washed her clothing, which would have destroyed any DNA evidence that may have been available for analysis for an alleged sexual abuse crime.

The woman died in November, 2010. As of earlier this year, no one has been criminally charged as a result of the incident or its aftermath.


New York Nursing Home Criminal Charges

A New York nursing home aide allegedly struck a 40-year-old developmentally disabled resident, who also suffered from schizophrenia and depression, in the head several times and the nursing aide’s supervisor allegedly failed to report the assault and tried to cover it up because she did not want to get the aide in trouble. The February 2, 2009 incident was allegedly observed by an emergency medical technician, who reported what he had seen to the nursing aide’s supervisor.

The nursing aide was charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and willful violation of health laws. The aide’s supervisor (a nurse) was charged with falsifying business records and willful violation of health laws. They both pleaded guilty to willful violation of public health laws late last year and lost their licenses.


If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of nursing home negligence or nursing home abuse, you or your loved one may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. Medical malpractice attorneys may be able to investigate your possible claim and represent you, if appropriate.

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