According to Patricia Anne Holcomb and Angela Jourdan, their grandmother, 93 year old Iva Jean Bonds, was sexually assaulted in Evergreen Arvin Healthcare, a nursing home in Southern California. The complaint filed on behalf of Iva details a harrowing evening which is truly horrible in its indications of humanity. May 25, 2013, Iva was sexually assaulted by a male CNA (certified nursing assistant). The assault was so violent that blood pooled in Iva’s vaginal canal.

During the six hours she lay waiting, bleeding internally, she developed blood clots. When Patricia and Angela learned their grandmother was bleeding, they demanded she be sent to the hospital. While there, a surgeon discovered Iva had been raped, and the hospital reported the incident. Sadly, Iva died 18 days after the assault ‘as a result of her injuries’. Evergreen’s staff attempted to cover up the incident by accessing Iva’s medical file without authorization.

Iva’s story, though sad, is not unique. Evergreen has a history of poor patient care, deficient health services, failure to screen staff members, and failure to report incidents of abuse and assault. Patricia and Angela also charge the home with failure to protect their grandmother because the same aide sexually assaulted a male patient just four days before Iva was violently raped.

Though the California Department of Public Health did investigate Iva’s case, they wrote Evergreen a citation and fined the home a mere $20,000 fine. Iva and patients like her are more vulnerable towards predators like the CNA because they are elderly, frail, have poor health, and are nonverbal and immobile, as Iva was. For those who want to prey on the weak, nursing homes are a prime place. This is why it is so important to properly screen staff. As long as there are predatory people in the world, and the authorities refuse to do anything more than slap nursing homes like Evergreen on the wrist with paltry fines, this type of crime, while horrendous, will not be uncommon.
 

 A blogger in Mississippi took photographs of Republican Thad Cochran’s ailing wife who is in a nursing home.  Police charged three more men in connection to the blogger, Clayton Kelly, who created a political video against the longtime senator from Mississippi. Mark Mayfield, an attorney and local tea party leader, and Richard Sager, an elementary school P.E. teacher and high school coach have been arrested for their roles in the political scheme. 

The photo surfaced in a political attack ad on YouTube that aimed to smear Cochran. It is unclear how the photo was used because the ad was removed within hours of being posted. Authorities added felony charges of conspiracy and photo voyeurism to the count of exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

 

The Daily Mirror reported on the horrific but common problem of elderly starvation in long term care facilities.  The article talked to a nursing home assistant who watched residents waste away in front of her because of lack of nutrition and hydration.  The nursing home worker has spoken of witnessing first hand how malnutrition is a major problem in the care of the elderly in nursing and residential homes. The worker claims she has raised her feeding concerns for residents with management but her appeals have fallen on deaf ears. “I’ve raised this with management and nothing’s done about it. It’s being brushed under the carpet,” she alleged.

Several people are known to have died of hunger in Northern Ireland hospitals between 2008 and 2012.  The shaming statistics have sparked growing calls for Health Minister Edwin Poots to take action.  “Staff are constantly raising this as an issue internally and externally but they are not being listened to,” he claimed.

 

 Allegations against a nursing home in Illinois claim that the facility waited a full half an hour before calling for EMS to assist a choking resident. The resident was found unresponsive at 11:45 and ambulance service was not contacted until 12:15. Even then, the ambulance service reports that they were told the situation was for a non-emergent transfer, likely further delaying response time.

The allegations go on to claim that by 12:38 p.m., Pauline Hendricks was cyanotic (blue), hypotensive (low blood pressure) and unresponsive with clumps of food in her mouth. Furthermore, the suit claims no staff members checked on Ms. Hendricks between the time she was first discovered unresponsive until the time EMS arrived on the scene. Ms. Hendricks was transported to a hospital, but died later that day.

The suit is against the facility, its owner (a holding company), a nurse, the doctor involved, as well as the corporation for which he works. The claims made include that the facility was not adequately staffed, did not have adequate policies, failed to assess the patient, or immediately call for an ambulance. As for the owner, the suit claims it “inappropriately allocated excessive funds to itself and/or its owners, shareholders, officers, employees and/or controlling members, thereby draining [the facility] of the resources necessary to maintain sufficient and appropriately trained staff.”  See full article here.

 A hidden camera placed in a room in a nursing home facility in western New York has led to felony charges for 17 members of the staff. The patient, who was only 56, suffered from a neurological disorder which left him completely unable to care for himself. According to the allegations, the staff there failed to dispense medicine, check on him, provide incontinent care, and provide liquids. The staff members then falsified documents saying that they had done all of these tasks. The staff involved have already been fired by the facility “for neglectful care of one resident.”

The nurses and nurses’ aides have been charged with first-degree falsifying business records, a felony; first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, a felony; and willful violation of public health laws, a felony. Conviction of a class E felony carries a prison sentence of up to four years.

The facility has 270 beds devoted to residential care, and had 6.2 deficiency citations per 100 beds, far worse than the state average of 2.2. Eleven of the seventeen citations involved quality of care. The facility also receives 44.8 complaints to the state for every 100 beds. This is again, far higher than the average 34.1.

Regarding the criminal charges against the employees, “The charges are against each individual for various times during the shifts, 24 hours a day during the time that the camera was operational,” said Attorney General Thomas Schlief. There will no doubt be follow-ups on this story as the high profile case proceeds in the coming months.  See articles here, here, here, and here.

ABC reported a maintenance worker from a California nursing home is thankfully behind bars, after an investigation into allegations of sexual assault included  DNA evidence to corroborate the victim’s report.  After pleading guilty to one felony count each of sexual battery on an institutionalized victim and sexual penetration by foreign object of an incompetent victim, he was sentenced to three years in prison and a lifetime sex offender registration.

While no system of screening potential employees is foolproof, this case is one more that goes to show that employers should be extra careful to avoid giving sexual predators access to vulnerable populations such as children, elderly and people who suffer from cognitive problems such as dementia or mental illness.

Many residents assessed as a high risk for bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, are given special pressure reducing cushions or mattresses which help to reduce the chances of their skin breaking down. That’s what was recommended and given to Margaret Patterson, a 78-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s. She received the special mattress while in a hospital, and it was transferred with her to her new nursing home. After that, it disappeared. Her daughter noticed it was gone and asked the administrator about it and was told they would “look into it.” During the subsequent month before the mattress was tracked down and returned, Patterson developed a pressure sore.

Patterson is one of four residents alleged to have been neglected or abused while at the facility in a trial that is currently ongoing. See article at The Examiner.

ValleyCentral.com reported the tragic story of Isidora Martinez. After only one day of being neglected in a nursing home, under deplorable conditions, Martinez had to be rushed off to the hospital in an ambulance.  Upon admission to Valley Grande Manor, Isidora was stable, after undergoing two major surgeries to remove a cancerous mass in her pancreas.

The family went to visit her the next day and found that she had not been changed or bathed. Isidora said that the facility was not taking care of her.  Isidora’s son, Desi, found that his mother was soiled, with her wounds open and unclean, and her incisions from her surgery were infected. To make matters worse, the nurses call button in her room was not working.  Desi stated that the facilities were outdated and the restrooms were filthy. When alerted of Isidora’s condition, the nurses refused to call for help.

When Isidora arrived at the hospital, she was diagnosed with sepsis. Sepsis is a potentially fatal whole-body inflamation, caused by severe infection. It is caused by the presence of microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites in the blood.  Since her hospitalization, a representative from Valley Grande Manor visited Isidora to apologize.

Luckily Isidora’s family was able to take an active role in her care. Many times, when a loved one is placed in the care of a nursing home, family members are not able to make daily visits. With how quickly Isidora’s health declined, it is scary to think what would have happened if she was left in such a state of neglect for an extended period of time.  When placed into facilites that are in states of disrepair with incompetent, uncaring staff, the life expectancy of a resident decreases significantly. Facilities attempt to defend themselves when untimely deaths of their residents occur by claiming that such persons were dilapidated and were in declining health. In reality, these facilities are responsible for causing the deaths and injuries of residents because of their negligent care practices.

This blog has followed the case of Mynez Carter, an elderly woman who was abused by staff at the nursing home where she was staying. Not only was she abused, but her family, suspicious of her change in behavior, set up a camera which caught some of the shocking acts on tape. Maria F. Acosta, the aide who was caught on camera abusing Ms. Carter pled guilty and could have faced up to 10 years in prison.

After reviewing the footage from the hidden camera as well as a pre-sentencing report, the court has sentenced her to only 90 days in jail and 5 years deferred adjudication probation.  Incredible that this mean vicious aide only gets 90 days when there is video proof of her abuse of a vulnerable adult.  If this was a video of her abusing a child or animal, she would have gotten more time.

It might be comforting to assume this was a case of a bad apple that slipped through the cracks, but a quick review of the DHEC inspection report for the facility shows multiple problems with communication, administration, staffing, and policies within the facility. These issues affected more residents than just Ms. Carter, and were present with other staff members ranging from other aides to the director of nursing. These facts from the report all point to a systematic failure by the facility, not merely one bad employee with a mean streak.

A man is paralyzed from the neck down after being attacked by a fellow resident at his Queens adult home — at least the second serious incident at medical homes on the Rockaway peninsula in recent months, according to the NYPD and police sources. Apparently the facility is so short staffed that they cannot supervise the residents.

The victim and the suspect got into an argument inside a recreation room at The New Gloria’s Manor on Beach.The suspect punched the victim in the face, causing him to fall and hit his head on a table. While both were on the ground, the alleged attacker, identified as Bienvenido Cruz jumped on the victim’s chest and continued to pummel him four to five times.  No staff intervened.Cruz then slammed the victim’s head into the table at least five times, according to an eyewitness.

The victim is paralyzed from the neck down, according to the criminal complaint. Cruz who has a prior arrest for weapons possession in Suffolk County, was charged with felony assault.

 

See full article here.