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Nursing Home Closes Amid Fatal Abuse Allegations

It’s rare even amid egregious allegations of abuse that a nursing home will close its doors.

Indian River County nursing home abuse lawyers know that’s not the way it should be, and we fight aggressively to hold these companies responsible.

Thankfully, in one Oregon case, it appears the state actually stepped in to take swift action while the criminal justice system prosecutes two former employees for their actions resulting in the death of an 83-year-old resident last year.

Civil action has not yet been filed, but is expected to follow.

According to the local newspaper, the couple running the home reportedly failed to provide nourishment, care and medical attention to the ailing woman. This was a smaller company, but it does not mean that it is allowed to reduce the standard of care given to patients and residents.

State authorities were quick to note that the decision to revoke the company’s license was not born out of the criminal actions, but rather of a pattern of repeated complaints and proven noncompliance with state law.

It’s a tragedy that such action couldn’t have been taken sooner, as the state oversight agency noted that it had validated seven complaints filed with Adult Protective Services between September 2011 and February 2012 – the time frame in which this elderly woman died as a result of neglect.

Those claims ranged from medication errors (incorrect dosage, failure to receive ordered medication, etc.) to outright neglect (failure to intervene when health conditions were obviously declining).

The state asserted that it had repeated contacts with the facility in an attempt to address these concerns, including:

A November inspection that revealed patients were at risk of harm due to non-compliance with state statutes. The state required that the facility restrict the number of patient admissions, require more training for its employees and on-staff registered nurse, increase staffing and increase the hours of its on-staff nurse.

State authorities revisited in February, and found that the agency had not complied with the order requiring additional nurse training or other license conditions.

In April, the state agency lodged a civil penalty and fine against the company, indicating that it failed to follow through with care plans and arranged doctor visits for patients.

The state returned in July to find the company still had not complied.

As a result, the state agency announced at the end of August that it would be revoking the company’s license. A process is underway to find alternative accommodations for the company’s 13 residents.

The company had only held a license since April of last year.

Meanwhile, two staffers were charged with first and second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and two counts of criminal mistreatment. They were each being held on $5,000 bond. Further details of the alleged neglect were not immediately available.

Here in Florida, such closures are a rarity. That makes it critical for families to be proactive in prevention of abuse.

Florida Statute 400.022 spells out the rights of nursing home residents in Florida. Familiarize yourself with those rights. Call us if you have concerns.

Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
John Day nursing home forced to close, By Jennifer Meacham, KOIN Local 6, Oregon

More Blog Entries:
Falls in Delray Beach Nursing Homes Can Be Fatal, Aug. 23, 2012, Indian River County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Blog

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