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Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Alleged in Lawsuit

An elderly resident of a nursing home was bedridden, non-verbal, fed through a tube and suffered from advanced-stage dementia. He was also likely a victim of nursing home sexual abuse.

That’s the allegation made in a lawsuit filed on his behalf recent in Illinois, where prior to his death, doctors found a condom containing hardened material inside his digestive tract.

Nursing home abuse lawyers in Fort Lauderdale recognize that for every case like this where abuse is discovered, countless more go unreported.

Sexual abuse is a horrific thing for anyone to endure, let alone when someone is unable to tell others what is happening. Absent physical evidence in this case, it’s probable no one would have known what was happening to this man. Even that was not enough to bring criminal charges. However, it was enough to bring a claim of negligence against both the nursing home and the hospital.

According to media reports, the man was a resident at the facility in June 2012 when he was rushed to a nearby hospital for what caretakers suspected was gastro intestinal bleeding and low levels of hemoglobin in his blood. As doctors treated him, they performed a procedure that involves examination of the digestive tract. It was at that time the condom was discovered.

According to the lawsuit, this means the man was likely sexually abused. The patient had undergone the same procedure two years earlier, and at that time, his tract was clear of any foreign objects. The lawsuit asserts therefore that abuse must have occurred during those two years, while he was under the care of the nursing home. The hospital is also named, however, because there were more than a dozen occasions during which he was a patient for various periods.

The lawsuit alleges both facilities were negligent in failing to protect residents from sexual abuse by not instituting the necessary safety measures.

A 2006 study conducted by researchers at Marquette University Law School in Wisconsin delved into the issue of elder sexual abuse in nursing home settings. Researchers began by pointing out that this type of abuse is the least-reported, and often, it’s not even consistently defined, which makes it more difficult to combat.

The National Center on Elder Abuse refers to it as any sexual contact with a person who refuses or is incapable of consent.

Researchers found that between 5 and 10 percent of all nursing home patients suffer some form of abuse and of those, roughly 8 percent suffer sexual abuse. That means that based on a population of 1.6 million nursing home residents nationwide (in 2006), some 13,000 suffered sexual abuse of some form. As the number of patients begins to grow, so too will these instances. Researchers estimate that unless dramatic action is taken, we can expect some 53,000 nursing home residents will suffer some form of sexual abuse annually by 2050.

Any relative who suspects a loved one may have been abused sexually should contact police, as well as an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.

Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Suit: Condom found in nursing home resident’s stomach, June 5, 2014, By Reema Amin, Chicago Sun-Times

More Blog Entries:
Alldredge v. Good Samaritan Home, Inc. – Tolling of Statute of Limitations When Defendant Conceals Cause of Death, June 10, 2014, Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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