In cases of Fellsmere nursing home abuse, administrators are often just as culpable as those who actually harmed the victim.
Our Fellsmere elder abuse lawyers know that those in charge of operations in nursing homes have a duty to protect their charges. Nursing home residents are vulnerable and often can’t speak for themselves. So when even suspicion of neglect or abuse arises, those in charge must act.
When they don’t, they can face both criminal and civil sanctions.
That’s what happened recently in Iowa, where the top administrator of the Tabor Manor Care Center has been charged with negligence and professional incompetence for his response to a series of sexual assaults at the facility. He may lose his professional license.
The administrator hasn’t yet responded to the charges, filed by the state’s Board of Nursing Home Administrators, and a hearing is scheduled for later this year.
The case was forwarded to the board back in December, shortly after the state’s Department of Inspections and Appeals fined the facility $3,000.
The allegations are that the administrator did nothing to protect residents who complained that they were sexually assaulted by a fellow resident. The alleged attacker, who had a known history of abusing alcohol, was reportedly involved in five separate sexual assaults over the course of four months.
Now first of all, it’s rare for such incidents to even be reported. Victims are often either frightened or unable to come forward about such abuse. This case illustrates why victims continue to be hesitant – because here, they did, and nothing happened.
According to news reports, a resident complained to staffers back in the early summer of 2008 that the male resident had groped her. The staff did report that case to inspectors with the state, who said they couldn’t find enough cause to launch a full-fledged investigation.
The following month, one of the staffers reported seeing that same male inside the room of a female resident, touching her inappropriately.
Two months after that, a worker witnessed the man running from the room of another female, wearing only his under garments.
At this point, staff at the home put a laser alarm on the man’s door.
Then a few days after that, another female resident filed a complaint alleging that the same man had groped her.
Then in October of that year, another staffer said she a female resident leaving the man’s room with her pants pulled down. The resident told the worker that the man had hurt her. The resident reportedly had blood around her lap area, but the nursing director declined to have the woman examined or to let the facility’s doctor know what had happened.
What’s more, the administrator didn’t document most of the attacks and never reported them to either state inspectors or the families or doctors of the victims.
The administrator is reportedly the son of the facility’s owner. He said he didn’t know how to prevent such problems from occurring. He was quoted as saying that, “down through the years, these things have happened.” He said in the past, the facility wasn’t required to report such incidents, and now it is. However, he wasn’t sure it was possible to prevent it.
Clearly, someone with that kind of outlook should not be in charge of the safety of our most vulnerable residents.
If you or a loved one have suffered from nursing home abuse in Fellsmere, 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.