PennLive reported the $250,000 verdict after the jury found a nursing home was at fault for the death of an 85-year-old resident.  The family of Bruce Dove had filed suit against the United Church of Christ’s Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home in Carlisle.

Dove had five children, now adults, some of whom were there throughout the trial, and it was the circumstances of his February 2014 death at the nursing home that spawned the lawsuit, filed in 2015.  According to the complaint and testimony at trial, the incident occurred like this:

On Feb. 5, 2014, Dove was in his wheelchair, waiting, near the entryway to the dining room, for dinner to be served. A supervising registered nurse asked another registered nurse to push him into the room.  But the second nurse pushed his wheelchair fast and recklessly down the hall toward the dining room without giving Dove warning or attaching footrests – a violation of safety standards. This motion flung Dove from his wheelchair. He hit his head on the floor and broke his neck.  The nurses rolled him over — failing to immobilize him — placed him back in his wheelchair and then moved him into his bed.

Dove suffered cervical spine fractures of the C1 and C2 and an odontoid fracture with displacement, as well as neurological damage. He died the following day.

“It was very important to my clients that the truth come out,” attorney Michael Kelley said. “They had been told early on that he just fell out of his wheelchair. They never believed that.”  The two nurses involved had been fired after the incident, which Kelley said was among the strongest pieces of evidence against the home. reported the tragic and preventable neglect of a nursing home resident at Cherokee Health and Rehab nursing home.  Three employees,  Sandra Michele Curry, Kacey Minerva Allen, and Shawna Rogers, have been convicted in the neglect of the resident. All three pleaded guilty in Cherokee County Circuit Court to one count of attempted elder abuse, a class C felony.

The trio – former employees of Cherokee Health and Rehab nursing home – was indicted earlier this year after an elderly resident was found to be suffering from about 100 ant bites.  Authorities say the three charted that they had entered the room numerous times throughout the night to check on the resident. However, a review of the surveillance video showed none of the three entered the room for approximately 11 hours.

“Alabama law recognizes that the care of those who are vulnerable is a serious responsibility, and those who are entrusted with this charge have a legal obligation to properly fulfill their duties,” Marshall said in a prepared statement. “These defendants not only failed to provide adequate care, but they were shown to have lied about their negligence that resulted in harm and injury to a nursing home patient.”


 St. louis Today reported another nursing home employee arrested for sexually abusing three residents.  Tony T. Bailey was charged with misdemeanor counts of assault, illegal deviate sexual intercourse with a resident of a skilled nursing facility and sexual conduct with a nursing facility resident.  The crimes took place between Dec. 8, 2016, and Jan. 20 of last year, charges say.

 A a 71-year-old resident of the Crestwood Health Care Center, reported that Bailey grabbed her bare buttocks as she came out of the shower. The woman described the contact as “surprising and shocking and unwanted,” charges say.  Two other female residents, both in their late 20s, had performed sex acts on Bailey while he was on the job, court records say.

Crestwood’s parent company is Maryland Heights-based Reliant Care Management, which says on its website that it operates about two dozen nursing homes across Missouri.  This past summer, Reliant’s holding company agreed to pay $8.3 million to settle claims that the company and affiliates provided unnecessary physical, speech and occupational therapy to nursing home residents and billed Medicare. The company also has agreed to a five-year “Corporate Integrity Agreement” with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

It mission statement says its facilities are “dedicated to providing quality care in a caring and dignified manner” to those 18 and older who are frail, elderly and mentally ill: “Our goal is to provide unparalleled care using a team like approach through empowering employees while at the same time meeting the needs of the respective communities, physicians, hospitals and other health care providers.”

WREX reported that Forest City Rehab & Nursing Center nursing home was fined $25,000 after the state says the facility caused a resident’s death.  The first incident reported by the Illinois Department of Health says a female resident, who lived at Forest City Rehab & Nursing Center since 2001, got medications she wasn’t supposed to.  The report says she was given multiple opioids that were meant for other residents.  The report says the woman was unresponsive and needed Narcan after the opioids were given to her.

A physician ordered the facility to monitor her vital signs every hour, something the facility did not do, according to the report. The resident died one week later.

But Forest City Rehab and Nursing didn’t just get penalized because of that fatal error. The state says says the facility failed to take proper care of her after the incident happened. On top of that, the report says it failed to let the woman’s power of attorney know what happened. That power of attorney later told the state in that report, “I was called when (R1) went into hospice in April, but I have not received any calls from the facility since then.”

Forest City Rehab & Nursing Center is also facing punishment for another incident to a different resident. The IDPH report went on to say that resident fell, breaking  both his arms and legs. The reason the nursing home faces a penalty is because the report says two people were supposed to help that resident move, but only one did.

That resident told IDPH, “There was just one girl helping me and I told her my legs weren’t working and then down I came. There was no belt around my waist, they usually don’t use one. I don’t recall hitting anything on my way down. I was just weak that day. I broke both my arms and my legs.”

Click here to read the full report.

The Seattle Times reported the arrest of  Jacob King charged with three counts of rape related to raping two residents at a Massachusetts nursing home.  Police say the rapes happened while King worked as a nurse at Savoy Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in New Bedford. WPRI-TV reports King told police he was engaging in affairs and he “never forced” himself on the women.

 Court records show a complaint was filed with the state Board of Nursing.  King has been released on home confinement.

VTDigger reported the arrest of Kareen McGregor on suspicion of second-degree assault, a felony, and simple assault, a misdemeanor for assaulting an 88-year-old patient. Police allege that McGregor, a licensed nursing assistant at the Genesis nursing home, poured water over the head and face of a female patient, then placed clothing around the patient’s head and neck to impede her breathing.

The police investigation involved speaking with members of the patient’s family, who were the first to report the incident.  Police also spoke with staff and other patients who witnessed the incident.  They found bruising on the resident.

Genesis, which operates more than 500 nursing homes and other health facilities nationally, is the largest nursing home operator in both New Hampshire and Vermont.


The Clarion Ledger reported the $1.25 million settlement between U.S. Department of Justice and Hyperion for allegations of false Medicare and Medicaid claims for  “grossly substandard care” at a Lumberton nursing home.  The government alleges that from October 2005 to May 2012, Hyperion made claims to Medicare and Medicaid for providing effectively worthless services to the nursing home residents.  The poor quality care caused the facility’s residents to suffer pressure ulcers, falls, dehydration and malnutrition, among other physical, mental and emotional harms, the government says.

Hyperion Foundation, a Georgia not-for-profit entity (Hyperion), Julie Mittleider, Hyperion’s former president, AltaCare Corp., a Georgia corporation engaged in nursing home management, Douglas Mittleider, AltaCare’s chief executive officer,  Long Term Care Services Inc. and Sentry Healthcare Acquirors Inc., and others have agreed to pay the settlement for alleged substandard care to residents at the Oxford Health and Rehabilitation nursing home in Lumberton. The nursing home was operated from late 2005 through mid-2012 by AltaCare, under a contract with Hyperion.

For example, the United States alleges that Hyperion failed to meet the nutritional needs of residents, failed to administer medications to residents as prescribed by their physicians, over-medicated residents, hired insufficient staff to care for them and diverted Medicare and Medicaid funds to other entities affiliated with Douglas or Julie Mittleider, leaving the facility unable to pay for its basic operations, including food, heat, air conditioning, pest control and cleaning. 

“When operators of nursing homes harm our most vulnerable citizens and break the law by defrauding our government for grossly substandard or worthless services, we will bring to bear all the resources of the federal Government in order to rectify these terrible actions,” Southern District of Mississippi U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said in the news release. “I commend our attorneys and investigators for resolving this travesty with one of the largest healthcare fraud settlements involving a single nursing home. We will continue the Department of Justice’s long-standing commitment to protecting the elderly.”

The lawsuit was filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private parties to sue on behalf of the government for the submission of false claims and share in any recovery.  The False Claims Act authorizes the United States to intervene and take over primary responsibility for the action, as it did in this case.  The amount to be recovered by the private whistleblower has not been determined.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had an interesting article about the danger of entrapment in bedside rails and restraints after prominent Pittsburgher Robert Frankel’s recent accidental strangulation from entrapment in bed rails at the Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center nursing home highlighted a danger that has concerned regulators and consumer advocates for years.  Mr. Frankel, a businessman, arts patron and father of a state legislator, was pronounced dead of accidental asphyxiation from “compression of the neck” after being found on the floor of his room. A state Health Department inspection report said he was “lying with his body on the floor and his neck between the air mattress and the side rail.”

Are they too dangerous or a necessary safety intervention?  The risk of injuries from bed rail use, particularly in the case of dementia patients like Mr. Frankel, has been among the issues cited in a successful effort over the past two decades to reduce a variety of dangerous restraints that restricted nursing home residents.  The FDA, which regulates hospital beds as a medical device, counted 531 rail-related deaths from 1985 to 2013, the most recent period in which it did an analysis.

The safety movement has been driven primarily by the goal of enhancing the dignity and independence of residents, who were once often tied to their beds or wheelchairs. However, other interventions don’t necessarily achieve their goal of enhanced safety including bed rails and alarms attached to beds or patients’ clothing.  Those include placing adjustable beds low to the floor, using protective padding beside the bed and having staff learn and follow residents’ patterns for needing assistance getting to the bathroom.  The only truly effective intervention is proper supervision which can only be achieved with adequate staffing.

Even when portable bed rails and hospital bed rails are properly designed to reduce the risk of entrapment or falls, are compatible with the bed and mattress, and are used appropriately, they can present a hazard to certain individuals, particularly to people with physical limitations or altered mental status, such as dementia or delirium,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports on its website.

The state report on Mr. Frankel’s death said the nursing home was using rails not to protect him from falling out of bed, but to help him in repositioning himself due to his physical limitations. Such use of side railings is better accepted by consumer advocates, because their purpose is then as an “enabler” serving to promote independence of residents, but facilities are still supposed to ensure safety.  For dementia patients, in particular, rails can be hazardous from attempts to climb over them, as well as the entrapment issues. They can fall from greater heights and incur more serious injuries, most notably to the head.

As part of a comprehensive update of nursing home regulations adopted in 2016, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services became more restrictive on use of full side rails. Residents must be assessed for risk of entrapment beforehand and steps must be taken to ensure that beds and rails are properly designed for use with one another, avoiding dangerous gaps.


Ashton Place Health and Rehabilitation Center nursing home has been hit with record fines after inspectors found widespread neglect resulting in actual harm to multiple patients including one who died after transfer to a hospital showed widespread wounds with maggots that apparently had gone untreated.  A male patient who was admitted to the home on July 26 of this year with no visible wounds ended up being transferred to a hospital for ulcers and ultimately died on Oct. 11 where hospital staffers found maggots in wounds that appeared to be untreated.

The 98-page inspection report cites multiple cases of patients suffering actual physical harm due to failure to follow a physician’s orders, failure to administer prescribed drugs and failure to inform physicians’ of their patients deteriorating condition.  According to the report, the home’s medical director stated, “I have support, no direction. I have talked (to them) about the staff they have here. I don’t have much confidence in them.”

The fines totaling $50,000 were imposed on the 211-bed nursing home.  In addition to the fines Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner ordered a rare freeze of any new admissions to the facility and appointed a monitor to oversee its operations.

Neglect and poor care was also detailed for other patients, including a female patient suffering from ovarian cancer whose worsening condition was not reported to her doctor. She died on Oct. 24.

 The report was highly critical of managers at the facility and noted that top officials contended they were unaware of the problems reported by direct care staffers.  What is worse?  Knowing of a problem and ignoring it or not even being aware of what is going on at the facility?

See article at Commercial Appeal.

Time reported the story of Catholic nun Sister Irene Morissette, a resident of Chateau Vestavia, an assisted-living facility near Birmingham, Ala.   Sister Irene told a staffer that she was raped in her bed.  What added insult to injury was her inability to sue the facility that failed to keep her safe.

Morissette told police that someone held her 5-ft. 2-in., 140-lb. frame to the bed by her shoulders. She recalled the “terrible experience of being penetrated,” according to a recorded police interview reviewed by TIME. “I was so scared,” she said. “She was afraid to call anyone,” an examiner wrote later, “because she was afraid that the assailant would be the one to come back to her room.”

“Police and medical records paint a disturbing scene. Police investigators found two semen stains in Morissette’s bed and blood on the “inside rear area” of her green-and-pink-flowered pajama bottoms, which had been shoved underneath the mattress. A sexual-assault examiner at a local hospital reported that Morissette had sustained multiple abrasions inside and outside her vaginal canal, wounds that could be consistent with rape. “The genital exam was very painful for the client,” the examiner’s report said.”

“After a criminal investigation by local police failed to produce enough evidence to identify a suspect in the alleged attack, Morissette’s family tried to file a civil suit against Chateau Vestavia, alleging everything from negligence to outrageous conduct. They felt there was plenty of evidence to back up those charges. The semen on the nun’s bedsheets was enough to suggest sexual contact, and Morissette, because of her dementia, could not legally consent to any sexual act. But none of it would see the light of day in a courtroom.”

When Morissette first came to Chateau Vestavia, she had signed the facility’s standard admissions contract. Buried in pages of terms and conditions was what is known as a pre-dispute binding arbitration agreement. By signing it, the elderly nun gave up her Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury and any right to bring a civil suit against Chateau Vestavia or its then parent company, Trinity Lifestyles Management, for any reason and at any time in the future.

More than a million other elderly Americans may have waived away their rights in the same way Morissette did.  More than half the 2.5 million Americans in nursing homes or senior living centers are likely bound by them. Legal advocates who work on behalf of seniors estimate that as many as 90% of large nursing-home chains in the U.S. now include arbitration agreements in their admissions contracts.

With arbitration, there is no courthouse, no judge and no jury. There are no requirements to follow state or federal rules on procedure, and effectively no appeals process. Whatever the arbitrator decides is almost always final.

 In June, the Trump Administration proposed a new rule that would allow nursing homes to require residents to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of admission to a facility: either sign it or find somewhere else to live. With the number of elderly Americans projected to double over the next 30 years, mandatory arbitration clauses in nursing homes will likely affect millions of people. Which means some may find themselves in the same private system of dispute resolution that Morissette and her family fell into.

“This is blatantly a sellout to the big CEOs and the Wall Street guys,” says Kenneth Connor, a self-described conservative and a South Carolina trial attorney.

As for Sister Irene’s case, Reed Bates, one of Chateau Vestavia’s lawyers, argued ridiculous theories to defend the failures of the nursing home.  He argued that Sister Irene was lying and had not bee raped.  Bates then argued that the traumatic vaginal abrasions were caused by Sister Irene’s masturbation.  Bates then offered speculation that the semen stains on the nun’s bedsheets got there while being laundered or handled by staff.  Ridiculous.

The arbitrator sided with the facility claiming Chateau Vestavia was not accountable. Neither the assisted-living facility nor Trinity Lifestyles Management would be required to compensate Sister Irene nor issue an apology.  And with that, the case was closed.

As a final indignity, Morissette’s family was handed a bill for roughly $3,000 to cover the cost of renting the Marriott room where the arbitration had taken place.