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Two nursing home employees arrested for patient neglect

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Neglect

Neglect

Two nursing home employees arrested for patient neglect

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

September 29, 2014

Almost two years after alleged neglect and mistreatment of a completely depended Alzheimer’s patient, and falsified records, two nurses aides were arrested for perpetuating a pattern of neglect at a now-closed nursing home in Buffalo, New York, according to report by The Buffalo News.

Hidden camera video footage documented the neglect that Donna Laury, 48, and Nakeia Green, 35, imposed on a 79-year-old resident suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, according to The Buffalo News.

The incidents occurred in 2012, according to the investigation.

The Buffalo News reported that the nurses aides failed to follow treatment standards, specifically failing to use a mechanical lift required to move the patient. The News also reported that when the nurses did use the mechanical lift, they didn’t use the required number of people to operate the machinery.

Both are charged with felony and misdemeanor counts and both have been fired, according to The Buffalo News. The felony counts are for falsifying business records and the misdemeanor counts are endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.

The nursing home was located into the Erie County Medical Center. Center president Richard C. Cleland expressed disappointment in his facility’s quality of care when speaking to The Buffalo News.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   Neglect, News, Physical Abuse

Failure to charge highlights nursing home system failure

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

September 28, 2014

Oklahoma is routinely ranked one of the worst states for nursing home care in the country, and earlier this month the system experienced what advocates are calling “an absolute failure,” when a nurse’s aide who allegedly abused a patient was never brought up on charges.

No employees were ever held criminally responsible, according to KOCO News in Oklahoma City, even though the nursing home was ordered to pay $15 million in abuse damages.

“The actions of the defendant are atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society,” the district judge wrote in her finding, according to KOCO.

“This is an absolute failure,” Wes Bledsoe, head of the advocacy group “A Perfect Cause,” told KOCO.

The lawsuit stemmed from an incident in which the nurse’s aide grabbed an 80-year-old, resulting in a broken wrist. The incident occurred in 2010, according to KOCO.

Four years later, the nurse’s aide could still be working in nursing homes with a spotless record.

Advocacy groups are worried about this.

“The likelihood is they’ve abused one person, there is a likelihood they have abused others and yet this person has had no action taken against them at all,” Bledsoe told KOCO. “It’s our understanding that Adult Protective Service did in fact substantiate abuse by caretaker in that case.”

Earlier this month, a national advocacy group rated Oklahoma 49th out of 50 states in nursing home care, according to KOCO.

Click here to read more about this story.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

 

 

TOPICS:   Neglect, News, Physical Abuse

U.S. Attorney goes after nursing homes that “persistently and severely” overmedicated residents

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

September 28, 2014

KION News

Two California nursing homes are under fire after federal officials filed complaints against the owners and operators citing abuse and fraud, according to CBS News affiliate, KION Channel 5.

Two facilities in Watsonville, California, the Country Villa Watsonville East Nursing Center and the County Villa Watsonville West Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, are accused of abusing the elderly and Medicare fraud.

The nursing homes filed falsified claims to Medicare for “materially substandard or worthless services,” authorities allege, according to KION News. It also asserts the facilities were notorious for  dangerously overmedicating residents the complaint called “vulnerable,” according to the news report.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spearheaded the investigation that led to the lawsuit, which highlights 16 instances the facilities were cited for poor care and overmedication, according to KION News.

The group in charge of overseeing nursing home management said the management employed at Country Villa over the time frame of the allegations has been fired, but that hasn’t stopped patients families from voicing their dissatisfaction.

“It’s really sad, disheartening, that another circumstance of elderly abuse is right  here in our own family kind of thing,” Aaron Pol, whose 92-year-old mother is a resident, told KION News. “We’ve also seen how through her breakdown of what she’s getting and what’s goin on there, we’ve questioned some of that stuff ourselves.”

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care, including medication abuse and errors. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

study shows that Alzheimer’s residents might forget poor care but the emotional damage is lasting

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

September 28, 2014

McKnight’s reports that a “nursing home resident with Alzheimer’s might forget receiving poor or negligent care, but the bad feelings created by ill treatment still could persist,” citing researchers at the University of Iowa.

McKnight’s reports that “investigators showed sad and happy films to 17 Alzheimer’s patients and 17 people with healthy cognition, then assessed their memories of the movies and their emotional states. Those with Alzheimer’s quickly struggled to recall details of the films, or even that they had just seen a film. However, the feelings of sadness or happiness created by the movies lasted for up to half an hour.”

“Quite strikingly, the less the patients remembered about the films, the longer their sadness lasted,” the university noted in a press release. “While sadness tended to last a little longer than happiness, both emotions far outlasted the memory of the films.”

According to McKnight’s, the findings show that caregivers can have a powerful impact on residents’ well-being by doing “simple” things, citing lead author Edmarie Guzman-Velez, a doctoral student in clinical psychology.

Click here to review the review the study, “Feelings Without Memory in Alzheimer Disease,” which is published in Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology, the official journal of the Society for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Nursing home employee charged with abusing nursing home residents

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

September 26, 2014

Two South Carolina nursing home patients were allegedly abused at the Sumter Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center in Sumter this summer and a woman has been charged and arrested in the case.

Andria Martrice Lawson allegedly struck a 70-year-old woman in the chest and left a 71-year-old man pants-less sitting in his wheelchair. Lawson was arrested in July and charged with abuse of a vulnerable adult and neglect of a vulnerable adult, according to The Post and Courier.

Lawson was fired from her job at the nursing home, a Sumter County Sheriff spokesman told The Post and Courier.

Click here to read more about this case.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

TOPICS:   Neglect, News, Physical Abuse

Nursing home pays $2.2 million to settle lawsuit involving falsified records, cover up

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

September 25, 2014

A nursing home in New Rochelle, New York, allegedly submitted more than 62,000 false claims to authorities over a four-year period has been forced to return $2.2 million to Medicaid, according to the Washington Examiner.

By settling to the False Claims suit, the nursing home, Glen Island Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, absorbed responsibility for charges that included falsely representing the degree of care required by residents and exaggerating the severity of the treatments of other residents, according to the Washington Examiner.

The nursing home then falsified records in an attempt to cover its tracks, according to the Examiner.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch announced the settlement. Schneiderman stressed the importance of caring for those who need the care, and the integrity that comes with that. He said, “Today we are saying: There is one set of rules for all nursing home providers – and my office is here to make sure those rules are followed.”

“Safeguarding public health care dollars is of critical concern, and my office will investigate and prosecute all allegations of impropriety by health care providers who obtain Medicaid funds to which they have no right,” he said, according to the Washington Examiner.

Click here to read more about this case.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care, including facilities that create fraudulent records to try cover up their wrongdoing. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

 

TOPICS:   False Records, Neglect

Nursing home fined for missed medication; neglect, hospitalization

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

September 25, 2014

Serial neglect of a patient resulted in a four-figure fine on a Tuscon, Arizona-based nursing home, according to a recent Arizona Daily Star/Tucson.com report.

The facility at Emeritus at Catalina Foothills in Tuscon was fined a civil penalty by the Arizona Department of Health Services after an investigation showed staff failed to administer proper medication to treat a resident’s heart and circulatory problems.

A primary physician prescribed the resident the blood-thinner warfarin to counter an irregular heartbeat and history of lung-based blood clots, according to Tuscon.com. An investigator found that staff at Emeritus at Catalina Foothills neglected administration of proper medication on 19 different occasions.

The fine’s dollar total was determined by the number of infractions, according to Tuscon.com, and resulted in a six-month probation penalty for then-executive director of the facility, Teresa Merritt. Merritt denied wrongdoing, according to Tuscon.com, claiming she was on vacation when the incidents occurred.

According to the report, staff failed to administer proper medication on four separate dates over a four-month period in December 2013 and January 2014.

Neglect was suspected after the patient was hospitalized and staff failed to provide explanations for the missing doses.

The fine resulted in the facility deploying a revamped records system, as well as opening a strict pharmacy that is monitored daily. The pharmacy must be checked by the health department on a daily basis.

The complaint was first filed with the Arizona Board of Examiners of Nursing Care Institution Administrators and Assisted Living Facility Managers, where the board unanimously voted in Merritt’s punishment. Merritt was also required to cover the investigation cost and to complete 12 hours of various community outreach programs.

Click here to read more about this story.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care, including medication abuse and errors. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Nurse accused of giving morphine instead of muscle relaxant indicted

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

September 25, 2014

A nurse in New York is accused of administering morphine instead of a muscle relaxant to a nursing home patient with spina bifida in February 2012, and earlier this month she was indicted of felony charges, according to Newsday.

Officials say Vicki Price, formerly of Bayview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, tried to cover up her mistake, which left her patient unconscious, by falsifying documents, according to Newsday.

The Bayview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is now known as South Point Plaza Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  Medicare has rated this 185-bed for-profit nursing home as “Much Below Average” (the worst rating possible) for its health inspections and staffing of the facility. Some of the deficiencies cited by Medicare include the nursing home’s:

  • Failure to provide necessary care and services to maintain the highest well being of each resident.
  • Failure to 1) make sure that each resident’s drug regimen is free from unnecessary drugs; 2) each resident’s entire drug/medication is managed and monitored to achieve highest well being.
  • Failure to safely provide drugs and other similar products available, which are needed every day and in emergencies, by a licensed pharmacist.

Price now faces second-degree endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person charges, as well as one count of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and falsifying business records in the first degree, according to Newsday.

As a result of the incident, the patient, 46, was hospitalized for five days after receiving anti-overdose medication, according to Newsday.

Price was fired, the nursing home said, pleaded not guilty and will return to court in October. Endangering a nursing home patient could land her a sentence of up to four years in prison, according to Newsday.

Authorities championed the importance of caring for those most in need of it.

“New York’s health care professionals take an oath to care for their patients,” state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told Newsday in a press release. “That care is their first duty.”

“Our most vulnerable patients deserve our care, and my office will pursue justice when our basic tenets of care are not met,” he continued.  “This is one set of rules for all caregivers, and those rules must be enforced.”

Unfortunately, medication errors like this occur far too often and are allowed to happen in nursing homes throughout the country. The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care, including medication abuse and errors.

To learn more about a recent case filed by the Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm in which the nursing home wrongly administered narcotics to a patient resulting in an overdose, click here.

If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Using cameras in nursing homes to protect residents from abuse and neglect

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

September 23, 2014

Updated safety and security may be on the way in Illinois in the form of recording devices to monitor patient care in nursing homes.

According to the Associated Press, last week Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan expressed her support for a bill to allow residents to place audio or video recording devices in their rooms. If implanted, the devices would serve as a silent guard against abuse.

The devices would come at the cost of the families, according to the Associated Press. But supporters call it a small price to pay for accountability and, supporters hope, improved treatment.

“Our loved ones in nursing homes are not always safe and well-cared for,” Madigan said, according to the AP.

Madigan’s office received numerous complaints from families of nursing home residents over the quality of care in Illinois nursing homes. Quickly, Sen. Terry Link extended his support. Madigan calls the recording devices the “next line of defense in protecting older people,” according to the AP.

Five other states already allow electronic monitoring in nursing home rooms. Nursing homes often argue against such legislation, citing privacy concerns.

But Madigan said the presence of recording devices is vital due to the growing elderly population in her state. Illinois is home to more than 1,200 nursing homes and 100,000 residents, according to AP.

“This should give us peace of mind in circumstances when we can’t physically go to the nursing homes,” Madigan told the AP.

Click here to read more.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

Illinois Attorney General proposes allowing cameras in nursing homes

By Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm

September 19, 2014

Illinois’ Attorney General has announced that she will push for legislation that permits video- and audio-recording devices in nursing home rooms to monitor patient treatment. AG Lisa Madigan calls it the “next line of defense” for vulnerable residents of nursing homes.  Madigan told news media that her office has received multiple complaints in recent months from nursing home residents and families concerned about safety and security.

Recordings or tapes would be admissible as evidence in court and tampering or obstructing a recording would result in criminal charges, Madigan said, according to a report in the McDonough County Voice.

According to the County Voice report, “Madigan’s push follows several unsuccessful efforts to enact similar legislation in Illinois, with the nursing home industry lobbying forcefully against the bills.”

News sources report that Illinois would become the sixth state to allow electronic monitoring in nursing home patient rooms if the proposal becomes law. Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Maryland and Washington state all have similar laws on the books.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.