I saw this story in a Pittsburgh paper.  I can’t believe they gave probation to a nurse who lied, changed medical documents, and covered up the circumstances of neglect that caused the death of a nursing home resident. 

What kind of deterrent is this?

Kathleen Galati who was a nursing home supervisor was sentenced to only five years’ probation.
She pleaded guilty in March to perjury, false swearing, criminal conspiracy, and tampering with evidence in connection with the October 2001 death of Mabel Taylor, 88, at Ronald Reagan Atrium I Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman also banned Galati from working in health care during her probation.  So in five years she can go back to covering up neglect in nursing homes!

Atrium head Martha Bell helped cover up the death of Taylor, who died after wandering outside on a cold night.  Bell was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and health care fraud and sentenced to at least seven years in prison.

A former nursing aide who admitted raping and impregnating a profoundly disabled and defenseless woman at a Bloomingdale nursing home three years ago was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison.

Reynaldo Brucal Jr., 20, pleaded guilty in November to aggravated criminal sexual assault of the then-23-year-old woman, who has cerebral palsy, is brain-damaged and has the mental capacity of a 3-year-old. She was in his care at Alden Village Health Facility for Children and Young Adults when the attack occurred in 2004.

Brucal, who is not a U.S. citizen, has been in DuPage County Jail since his 2005 arrest. 
After serving his sentence, he will be deported to his native Philippines.

Staff at the nursing home, where the victim and her twin sister had lived for 13 years, discovered she was expecting in June 2005 when she was more than 28 weeks’ pregnant. A baby girl was delivered by Caesarean section in July 2005.

The twins, who cannot speak or function independently, have been moved to another area nursing facility, and their family has filed a civil lawsuit against Alden that is pending.

The facility also has been fined $10,000 by the Illinois Department of Public Health for lack of oversight and mishandling of the investigation.

According to the probation department’s pre-sentencing report, Brucal admitted assaulting the woman because he was "bored."

But Brucal, who began working at Alden in September 2004 and was 17 at the time of the attack, "didn’t believe he did anything wrong," Berlin said.

Initially, Brucal denied sexual contact but was arrested in November 2005 after admitting such contact, claiming a latex glove he used as a condom had failed.

See article here

The owner and manager of a Palmetto nursing home has been arrested on a charge of neglecting an elderly person in connection with a large lesion found on the face of a resident there.

According to reports, 85-year-old Ronald Larsen began living at the Palmetto Guest House in June, 2005. Jacqueline Dorelien took over the home in July of the following year.

The lesion was present when Dorelien took charge, but grew during the next few months, eventually rupturing into a large open wound.  The report says Dorelien failed to get medical help for the man, despite the advice of doctors.

The arrest came two days after the state agency that oversees nursing homes started action to revoke the Palmetto Guest House’s license for allegedly failing to provide adequate care.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration issued the complaint Wednesday.

In it, the agency accused the facility of:

• Failing to provide care and services appropriate to the residents’ needs.

• Failing to arrange for necessary physician appointments.

• Violating the Assisted Living Facility residents’ bill of rights by failing to provide "adequate and appropriate" health care.

"A facility’s first priority should be the safety and well-being of its residents," AHCA Secretary Andrew Agwunobi said in a statement issued with the complaint. "It is unacceptable when the management of a facility does not take this responsibility seriously. Our action in revoking their license is necessary to protect this most vulnerable population. The agency will continue to monitor this facility during the administrative complaint process to ensure the safety of its residents."

Protecting Loved Ones from Nursing Home Abuse

Solomon & Relihan’s Phoenix based law firm has recently launched NursingHomeAdvocates.com. NursingHomeAdvocates.com is a resource portal designed to assist both family members of nursing home residents, and the patients themselves, who suspect neglect, malpractice, or abuse.

In the United States alone, nursing home malpractice has become a significant problem with growing numbers. Investigations done by the US Government have shown that approximately 30% of nursing home facilities in the US have neglected or abused their patients, resulting in significant harm. Studies also show that nursing home malpractice has resulted in over 4,000 deaths due to malnutrition, dehydration, and bedsores.

Check out the website.

See article here

Investigators in Kenton County, Ohio are looking into a nursing home in Erlanger, where several complaints have been filed against Villa Springs Nursing Home.

As many as five patients may have died as a result of abuse and neglect, authorities said.

One former patient told News 5 he nearly died trying to get help from a nurse when he stayed at Villa Spring.  “She wouldn’t stay with me,” said the man, who declined to give his name or appear on camera. “She brought me a couple of pills and ran off.”

The World War II Navy veteran said he could barely breathe and asked the nurse to call 911.

“When I turned my light on for help, she turned it off,” he said.

The man said the nurse refused to provide care until he tried to call 911 himself. Emergency crews discovered he had been having a heart attack.

“We’ve received over 50 calls already in this office, complaints (and) concerns from families who have had past experiences and current experiences with this facility,” said Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Garry Edmondson.

Despite numerous complaints, Villa Spring representatives said their facility meets quality standards.

The family of Florence Pierpoint, a 79-year old nursing home patient who was killed while in the care of a Tacoma nursing home, filed a lawsuit after a medical examiner ruled her death a homicide caused by a morphine overdose.

The complaint  includes charges that the facility’s staff failed to administer medications according to the physician’s orders and neglected to monitor Pierpoint’s condition. 

Pierpoint was transported to the facility after returning from a stay at a local hospital where she was treated for pneumonia she acquired in the nursing home.

On November 2, 2004, records show a sudden and drastic decline in Pierpoint’s condition, noting confusion and disorientation. The nursing home’s response was to administer additional doses of morphine and Xanax, a powerful anti-anxiety drug.  Later that day, Nisqually staff reported that Pierpoint was becoming increasingly restless and they administered additional morphine.

"I noticed my mom’s dramatic slide, from awake and aware to nearly comatose," said Linda Fox, Pierpoint’s daughter. "I raised these issues with Nisqually’s staff, but they chose to ignore my pleas."

Pierpoint died less than one hour after the additional morphine was administered.

"Florence’s family is adamant that the nursing home and the responsible staff be held accountable for their actions," Meyers said. "Their deepest fear is that other patients could be at risk." 

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Two nursing home workers were fired this week after police said they were involved in "inappropriate activity." Police would not go into detail about what the two employees were accused of doing.

"We got a call from the nursing home I believe that there was some inappropriate actions and we took it from there," said Galion police Chief Brian Saterfield.

A representative from the nursing home said the two were immediately suspended and later fired following an internal confidential investigation.

Why can’t they disclose what these two cretins did to the poor residents?  Why the need for secrecy?

It is horrible how the U.S government treats war veterans.  This article discuss how a Phoenix, Az nursing home for veterans was cited for negligence because of mismanagement and understaffing.

State review blames staffing shortage for nursing home troubles.  A state government-run nursing home for veterans suffered from staffing shortages, poor morale and mismanagement.

The Governor’s Arizona State Veteran Home Review Team report said the Phoenix nursing home had problems with nursing shortages, high personnel turnover, poor organization and lack of direction from state administrators.   The vets home has been fined by federal regulators for poor care and some cases of patient negligence.

When two residents at a nursing home in Santa Cruz got eviction notices last March, they decided to fight them. They called Linda Robinson of Advocacy Inc., a Santa Cruz nonprofit, to help them file appeals with the state Department of Health Services. A little more than a year later, the issue is being resolved according to an April 11 memo signed by Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director of the state health department.

The April 11 memo affects nearly 900 nursing home patients in Santa Cruz County as well as 1,400 nursing homes statewide with more than 133,000 beds.

"In a year, dozens, maybe hundreds, of [eviction] notices are sent," Connors said. "They get issued way too often in my experience. Patients have the right to be protected from arbitrary transfers"

Billingsley’s April 11 memo to district managers covered policy and procedures for appealing eviction notices. It also said staff must receive training to make sure policy and procedures are followed.

Last year, a lawsuit was filed, complaining about a backlog of nursing-home complaints. This month, a state auditor, reporting on 17,000 complaints filed over two years, said the department had not completed about 60 percent of its investigations in a timely fashion.

See article here.

Drug-maker freebies can lead to harm for patients, a new report from the highly respected New England Journal of Medicine warns. Consumers have reason to be concerned about the study’s findings.

Gifts (bribes?) showered upon doctors by drug- and medical device-makers have become so pervasive that they are a standard part of every physician’s practice. 94 percent physicians have a  relationship with the drug industry, according to a study scheduled to be published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Consumers should care about such relationships because drug companies market the most expensive brand names; gift-giving influences prescribing behavior and therefore how much patients spend on prescriptions.

The study proves that many doctors do not follow the AMA voluntary guidelines. It notes, for example, that 35 percent of respondents accept reimbursement for continuing medical education or for travel, food or lodging for medical meetings.

A National Survey of Physician–Industry Relationships
E. G. Campbell and Others