Eight People Charged following Williamsville Suburban Nursing Home Abuse Investigation

Monday, April 19th, 2010

According to The Buffalo News, a hidden camera placed on a female resident with her family’s permission led to eight people being charged with falsifying documents.  This is classified as a felony, and followed a 7 week investigation in to the practices of the nursing home.  Six Certified Nursing Assistants and two Licensed Practical Nurses are being charged.

Williamsville Suburban is part of the Legacy Healthcare, LLC which has numerous facilities across Western New York.  This company has a history of car issues, and in fact was named one of the nation’s worst senior care facilities in February of 2008.

Yearly surveys are conducted on nursing homes by the New York State Department of Health, which become available to the public once completed.  Williamsville Suburban had a total of 51 deficiencies as of March 2010, and three of those were associated with residents actually being harmed or put in immediate jeopardy.

Following a seven week probe, State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s office said that a CNA failed to give range-of-motion therapy to a patient that helps prevent muscles from seizing.  Additionally, two nurses failed to administer insulin, check vital signs and treat skin and wounds.  Five nurses aides were charged with endangering the welfare of a physically disabled or incompetent person, which is a misdemeanor.  These aids are accused of placing a woman at risk of injury due to their failure to use a mechanical lift to transfer her in and out of bed.

According to W. Richard Zacher, president of Williamsville Suburban LLC, “There was no harm caused to any resident as a result of the alleged conduct.”  He stated that the facility had suspended seven of the eight accused, and that one employee was no longer employed by the organization.

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a growing problem in the nation, and one that is extremely concerning to families of loved ones who live in these facilities.  If you suspect abuse or neglect of a loved one, report your suspicions to staff authorities and contact a New York nursing home attorney.

This article is provided by Brown Chiari; personal injury attorneys in New York.

84-Year-Old Woman Recovering After Apparent Beating in San Antonio Nursing Home

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The family of an 84-year-old woman plans to file a lawsuit at the Bexar County Courthouse following what appears to be a severe beating suffered by the woman at the Stonebrook Manor at Broadway in San Antonio.  Police were called to investigate the reported assault in March.  According to the police report, the victim had a knot on the back, left side of her head, bruising on the side of her face, and a swollen black eye.

The police state there were no witnesses present, and that the attending officer noted that the woman suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s so she was not able to report how the injuries occurred.  Officials at the nursing home say that the victim was injured in a fall, but family members believe someone punched her in the face and tried to choke her.  Apparently, pictures taken by the woman’s daughter indicate bruises on the victim’s neck as well.

Tim Maloney, attorney for the family of the victim, told News 4 WOAI that it was obvious from the photographs what happened to the victim.  He stated, “We’re looking at a woman who was assaulted and almost beaten to death.  This is a woman who was beat severely.”  The victim’s daughter took the pictures and then called police.

One person who was believed to work at the nursing home told police that the woman’s injuries could be the result of falling out of bed, which Maloney said was insulting.  The victim has since been moved out of Stonebrook Manor nursing home, and the state confirms that there is an open investigation but won’t confirm that it is connected with this particular case.

A formal complaint is also being filed by News 4 WOAI who requested a copy of Stonebrook Manor’s most recent inspection report.  By law, a nursing home is required to provide a copy to anyone who requests it.  News 4 WOAI requested a copy of the inspection report, but the nursing home refused to provide a copy on site.  According to the state, it is a violation of state and federal regulations to refuse to provide an inspection report when requested.  The administrator at Stonebrook Manor at Broadway had no comment.

Assaults, abuse and neglect seem to be rising concerns in nursing homes across the nation today.  As more and more stories of residents being beaten or neglected saturate the media, it concerns family members who have loved ones living in these facilities.

If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being mistreated, abused, beaten or neglected in an elderly care facility, contact a highly respected New York nursing home abuse and neglect attorney.  Ensuring that you hire a respected and experienced personal injury lawyer in New York will help to obtain the settlement you deserve.

Senators Demand Information Following New York Times Expose on Long-Term For-Profit Facilities

Monday, April 12th, 2010

In February, an expose of elder abuse occurring at numerous US care facilities was published in the New York Times.  This expose led to an investigation into deaths and substandard treatment launched by the Senate Finance Committee.  This investigation will focus primarily on Select Medical Corporation, according to the New York Times report.  Select boasts more long-term for-profit facilities than any other company, and operates 89 such facilities across the United States.

An incident that allegedly took place at a Select facility in Kansas was detailed in the Times.  This incident involved the heart alarm of a dying patient sounding for 77 minutes before nursing staff eventually responded, leaving the patient in distress for well over an hour.

On March 8th, Senators Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Max Baucus (D-Montana, the committee’s chairman) demanded that additional information concerning the allegations be provided by Select.  A spokeswoman for Select who viewed the Times article claimed that the report was inaccurate and misleading, thought Select does indicate that it will fully cooperate in the inquiry.

Former employees of Select have also lodged complaints against the company, which will likely be investigated.  These former employees have provided details about a supposed discharge policy that appears to place profit as priority instead of the well-being of patients.

Hospitals that treat patients for 25 days or longer earn increased Medicare payments under Medicare rules.  According to former employees of Select, the company attempts to keep patients for the full 25 day period, then immediately tries to discharge them so that they have room to care for another patient for 25 days in order to maximize Medicare profits.  According to the New York Times report, some Select locations refer to the twenty-fifth day of a patients stay as the “magic day.”

It is a tragedy today how our elderly loved ones are treated in long-term care and elderly facilities.  It seems that if they are not being neglected or abused in nursing homes, they are being used in other ways to help facilities gain profit, instead of being cared for in the proper manner.

If you suspect abuse or neglect of your loved one in a nursing home or elderly care facility, contact a reputable New York nursing home abuse attorney at once.  Brown Chiari are New York personal injury attorneys with decades of legal experience.

Lawsuit Alleges Neglect on Behalf of South Elgin Nursing Home

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Rodney L. Volkening was a 54-year-old man who required constant care after being diagnosed with spina bifida several years ago.  Now, his family has filed a lawsuit against Tower Hill Healthcare Center, a South Elgin Illinois nursing home, alleging neglect and abuse of their loved one.

The family moved Volkening to Tower Hill after officials at the nursing home assured them that he would be provided a safe and comfortable home.  On July 5, 2008, he was taken to Sherman Hospital because of a 107 degree temperature according to Craig Brown of Foote, Meyers, Mielke and Flowers LLC, who is the family’s attorney.

Brown stated that hospital staff filed a report of suspected abuse and neglect with the Illinois Department of Human Services after finding in the emergency room the Volkening had been subjected to poor oral hygiene and poor skin care.  A colostomy bag that had busted left a large amount of stool around Volkening and he had severe bed sores that were covered in dressings covered by stool.  Even with a temperature of 107 degrees, it appeared the nursing home had given him no medication to bring the fever down.

According to Tower Hill administrator Jeremy Amster, the nursing home makes no comments on pending lawsuits.  He did say that the facility would defend against any and all claims vigorously.  Volkening did succumb to his illness on July 31, 2008 and the lawsuit is seeking in excess of $50,000 plus attorney fees.  Brown states that the lawsuit does not allege that neglect led to Volkening’s death, but that an investigation is ongoing in to whether the abuse and neglect suffered at Tower Hill was a cause of his eventual death.

Volkening’s death certificate listed pneumonia and staph infection, but the autopsy (and death certificate) did not indicate the cause of the infection.  According to the lawsuit filed by the family, the lack of adequate medical care, personal care and maintenance while in the nursing home led to Volkening’s injuries and physical deterioration.  A hearing on the suit is scheduled for May 22 of this year.

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a sad fact that seems to be occurring more frequently in our society.  If you suspect abuse or neglect of a loved one in a nursing home or elderly care facility, contact a reputable New York nursing home abuse lawyer.