Our Stuart nursing home abuse lawyers never cease to be amazed at the level of cruelty that is sometimes inflicted on those in our society who are most vulnerable.
A recent case out of Brooklyn, NY just underscores the issue. A New York Times story shed light on two cases involving older disabled adults.
In the first, workers at a residential treatment center reportedly would not allow a man to move from a small mat they had placed on the floor. He was starved and if he disobeyed any of the cruel orders, he was reportedly beaten with sticks they had painted blue and dubbed “magic wands.”
Such was the claim of a civil lawsuit filed on his behalf.
In a second lawsuit, also in an adult care facility for those with disabilities, one resident was left in the care of a teen and almost choked to death on a corn cob. The lawsuit contends that employees failed to properly manage his food intake, and he shed almost 50 pounds.
Each of these cases were filed separately in Federal District Courts, with both seeking monetary damages. Family members for both men contend the abuse continued, even after making repeated complaints to supervisors about their treatment.
The newspaper last year conducted an investigation into the state agency that provides funding and oversight to disabled adults. What they found was that the agency often did not take complaints seriously or make any effort to stop the abuse. The tragic result was numerous severe injuries and even deaths.
The man who was beaten with the “magic wand” suffered from cerebral palsy. He died last year while in the center’s care of bacterial pneumonia. Family members say that he was torn down both physically and emotionally. Staff members called him a plague, and when he ventured off that small mat in the corner of his room, staffers reportedly stepped on his hands and stuffed things into his mouth.
The man in the second lawsuit suffers from autism, and he too was just in his early 20s when he began his stay at a facility in Brooklyn. His doctors had placed him on a strict diet that mandated he was not to be served hard foods. But when a manager left a corncob nearby, the teenager who was asked to watch him for a time didn’t stop him when he grabbed that corncob and swallowed it whole. He had to be rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. After that, he was placed on a strict diet of only foods that were blended and soft. But staffers didn’t manage that diet appropriately, and he wasted away to less than 60 pounds.
Sadly, cases such as these are not unique to New York. While Florida cities like Stuart pale size-wise in comparison, the fact is that such occurrences may actually be more pervasive here because of our elderly demographics.
The most recent U.S. Census data indicates that the average percentage in the country for individuals over the age of 65 is about 13 percent. In Florida, it’s nearly 18 percent.
While these particular cases involved younger individuals, similar issues abound in care centers charged with caring for older residents. As an increasing number of Baby Boomers continue to age, problems such as these will continue to multiply.
Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
2 Lawsuits Detail Abuse of Disabled in State Care, By Mosi Secret, The New York Times