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Report: Florida-Based Nursing Home “Dumps” Navy Vet

The ailing, elderly veteran hadn’t paid his nursing home bill.

For this, he reportedly almost died.

According to news reports, he was driven by nursing home staffers to an empty, unfurnished apartment. He was not given any food, water, medication or phone. At the time, he was reportedly suffering from a life-threatening blood infection. He was also a diabetic, dependent on insulin, and was suffering congestive heart failure and other problems.

Our Sunrise nursing home abuse lawyers are appalled at the actions of the staffers at the Iowa facility and its corporate management. Apparently, such actions violate the company’s standards for protocol as well, with a spokeswoman for the agency quoted as saying that her firm doesn’t condone the actions and that it was an “unfortunate situation.”

It could have been even more unfortunate for the victim, who was only saved after he was noticed by a neighbor in the building. He was rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital. An official with the local sheriff’s office said he believed the man was unlikely to have survived the night if he’d been left alone. The official was quoted as saying that if the neighbor hadn’t intervened, officials likely would have found the man deceased in that apartment the following day.

Although the incident occurred in November, it only recently came to light when state regulators released the investigative report, ultimately fining the center about $5,800 for the incident.

Once the man recovered, he was sent back to the same nursing home that had “dumped” him.

The company is a mega, for-profit nursing home management firm, owning and operating some 260 nursing home facilities throughout the country, including 53 centers in Florida.

In this case, the disabled veteran was removed to the nursing home last summer when social workers and police determined he was unable to take care of himself. According to reports, he was unable to bathe himself, feed himself or take proper care of the home. Social workers called the home’s condition “deplorable.”

From there, the veteran (who had served in the Navy from 1968 through 1988) was admitted to the nursing home. There, he was diagnosed with diabetes, congestive heart failure, sleep apnea, post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions. He had no family support. He couldn’t walk unassisted and required help with basic hygiene.

Two months after he was admitted, officials handed him a letter indicating he would be discharged without consent because he hadn’t paid his bill. Staffers reportedly attempted to sign him up for Medicaid that would have covered his bill, but he reportedly wouldn’t cooperate. Social workers say he exhibited early signs of dementia.

Officials with the facility say they arranged for him to be placed in a nearby apartment and to have his own furniture sent there, but he turned that offer down. When they loaded him up to leave, he reportedly refused to take his bottled oxygen (which he needed to breathe) along with medications and home health services.

Of course, based on all the information his caregivers had up until this point, it would seem logical that he was perhaps not in the right frame of mind to make these decisions for himself.

Another tenant at the apartment stopped by to check on the older man after the driver left and she realized the unit had no phone, food or furnishings. She brought him a blanket, a microwave and some silverware. The manager of the apartment brought the man some food.

The apartment manager later told investigators that he angrily called the nursing home when he realized what had happened. However, he said the administrator told him that if the man was hungry, he could walk across the street to another related nursing home to get a meal. The apartment manager noted the man was unable to walk across the apartment to the refrigerator unassisted.

After he was treated by a nearby hospital for severe respiratory distress, he was transferred to another facility for intensive care. He was treated for sepsis and showed indications of pneumonia.

He was later taken back to the same nursing home.

Although in Iowa, denial of critical care to a dependent adult is considered a form of criminal abuse, no charges have been filed.

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

Additional Resources:
Iowa nursing home ‘dumps’ ailing veteran without care, Jan. 28, 2014, By Clark Kauffman, The Des Moines Register

More Blog Entries:
Violation of Nursing Home Patient Privacy And Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Jan. 15, 2014, Sunrise Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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