An 85-year-old woman who died last year at a nursing home in Maryland reportedly suffered negligence and neglect by staffers who were charged with caring for her.
In a lawsuit filed by her family against a large nursing home chain (which has branches in Florida), the woman’s daughter-in-law reportedly shot video revealing the woman’s cries of pain were ignored for over an hour.
The litigation was filed in Baltimore against ManorCare Health Services, a for-profit chain with numerous locations across South Florida. Not only did nurses and other staffers neglect the decedent, the lawsuit alleges, but they falsified records in order to do so. Apparently, the records kept by nurses at the facility are in direct conflict with what the video footage depicts.
Specifically, the notes in decedent’s chart indicate she was “in no pain.” That was the exact notation made on August 17, 2014. But to the contrary, video shows the woman screaming, moaning and crying in pain. She sobs as she pleads for over an hour for someone to assist her in going to the bathroom. While she is shown ringing an alarm bell for over an hour, no one responds to her desperate pleas.
In response to a reporter’s inquiry on the lawsuit, staffers directed questions to the company’s corporate office, which summarily noted the company’s policy not to comment on pending litigation. The company spokesperson did underscore the firm’s purported commitment to deliver quality care to patients in accordance with all state and federal health regulations.
But of course, that’s a standard corporate response. Large for-profit elder care providers are notorious for problems with understaffing and neglect. A number of state attorneys general across the country have pursued action against these companies in recent years for promising to provide quality health care for vulnerable, elderly residents – and accepting tax dollars to do so – while in fact failing to do so.
In fact, this firm in particular is has been accused by the U.S. Justice Department of violating the Federal False Claims Act for providing treatment and rehabilitation services to patients on Medicare when those treatments were in fact not necessary from a medical standpoint.
Decedent in this case was a former Social Security Administration worker. She was transferred to the home from a hospital after she suffered a fall in her home. Once she became a resident at this facility, the lawsuit alleges, she began to suffer a series of unexplained injuries. One of those injuries included a broken arm.
Video captured by a hidden camera placed in the woman’s room by her daughter-in-law shows the woman was ailing, in pain and desperate for help that never came. She died within 30 hours of when that video was shot.
Her survivors are now seeking $30 million in damages from the for-profit facility for negligence.
A state investigation of the incident allegedly did not secure proof of the family’s claims, though an inspector did inform the family other areas of concern pertaining to patient care were identified as a result. However, the family is requesting the state re-open their investigation into the woman’s death and the degree of care she received in the days prior.
Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
Family alleges negligence at ManorCare in Catonsville, June 23, 2015, By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun
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Lawsuit: Nursing Home Tried to Conceal Medication Error, June 30, 2015, Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog