A long-term care corporation in Kentucky is pulling its chain from that state – but still has facilities in Florida – following the conviction of three staffers on charges of nursing home abuse.
As our Plantation nursing home abuse lawyers understand it, the decision has as much to do with the criminal case as the fact that Kentucky legislators did not pass a bill that would have made it more difficult for victims’ families to file civil lawsuits against negligent nursing homes.
A spokesman for the company, Extendicare Health Services Inc., was quoted by the Lexington Herald-Leader as saying that Kentucky has become a “battleground” for greedy attorneys targeting large, for-profit nursing homes.
The truth of the matter appears to be that this company seeks to avoid responsibility for the negligent and abusive actions of its staffers. Focusing their resources in states where there is less accountability and oversight (Florida included) appears to be their goal.
So this Canadian-based company, with facilities in South Florida, is certainly one to watch.
In the incident that prompted Extendicare’s extrication from Kentucky, three nursing home aides were arrested, charged and convicted of abuse, related to the death of an Alzheimer’s patient in her 80s.
The abuse was downright sadistic – but it wasn’t discovered until after her family members installed a hidden camera in her room to prove their suspicions that she was being harmed by staffers. The 84-year-old woman was losing weight at a rapid clip, and had bruises that were extensive and unexplained.
What they discovered was sickening.
One of the aides put her at great risk for infection by improperly and inadequately cleaning her.
Another aide refused to feed her. Instead, she would eat the woman’s meals herself – in front of her.
And yet another was witnessed abusing her both verbally and physically.
The woman ultimately passed away in 2008. The video footage of the abuse was sent to the state’s attorney general, who launched a misconduct investigation. The woman’s estate also filed a civil lawsuit seeking personal injury and punitive damages.
Those three staffers were ultimately convicted of wanton abuse of an adult and reckless abuse of an adult. Each received a one-year sentence, but all three of those sentences were suspended, in lieu of probation and assuming good behavior.
It’s a slap on the wrist, really.
But now, the agency that employed these three is acting as if this is some kind of a witch hunt. Consider, however, some of the other cases that have been cropping up in that state:
A former group-home worker who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the beating death of a mentally disabled man, who died of internal abdominal bleeding. The 21-year-old staffer initially told police he had seen another resident choking the victim, leading to the other resident’s arrest. However, it wasn’t until an autopsy revealed the true cause of death that investigators ultimately honed in on the staffer.
Another case involved the death of a 32-year-old man suffering from brain damage due to a childhood injury. He was staying in a long-term care facility, and was found dead near a river, about four weeks after he went missing. It’s not exactly clear what happened, but we do know this: staff should never have lost sight of him long enough for it to happen. His death has led to two proposals for legislation change.
The fact that the organization that harbored the three abusive aides has made it a point to say they desire to operate in less litigious states – given the severity of what is happening in Kentucky – should be a huge red flag.
If you or a loved one have suffered from nursing home abuse in Plantation, West Palm Beach or the surrounding areas, contact the Law Offices of Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez for legal assistance. 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.