Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse

Date: November 4, 2014

Take a look at your local news almost any week and you’ll find multiple examples of nursing home negligence. A recent article announces “Six Nursing Homes Fined Following Verbal Abuse, Lapses In Care.” These homes did everything from verbally abusing residents to mixing up medications and neglecting to maintain proper records. One patient even became so frustrated with the incompetent care that they were receiving that it drove them to jump out of a window in an attempt to return home. Though unconscionable, these events highlight some differences between nursing home abuse and negligence.

Nursing home abuse

There are so many cases being tried against nursing homes that a recent article reports, “Eastern Kentucky nursing home owner pushes for roadblocks to elder-abuse lawsuits.” It seems that a patient was abused by members of the staff at a Kentucky nursing home. In response, the owner is attempting to put a system in place to ensure fewer lawsuits like this make it to court.

They are supporting measures to change the law in Kentucky so cases like this will first be vetted by a panel of “health care providers.”

That’s how crazy this whole system has become. Rather than addressing the problem within the nursing home, the owner is attempting to rewrite the law so they don’t go to court when these things happen. A better approach would be to put systems in place to ensure nursing home residents are not abused by the staff.

Nursing home negligence

In the Eastern Kentucky case, the abuse was carried out by the staff and the negligence comes from the nursing home owners. The staff members took actions that were abusive to the patients under their care, which directly harmed the residents. The owners of the nursing home, however, caused harm by neglecting to take appropriate measures to protect the residents under their care.

In West Virginia, a recent news article shows just how harmful nursing home negligence can be. The headline reads, “Woman accuses nursing home of fatal neglect.” At times, negligence can become even more harmful than abuse.

Hubert Humphrey once said, “The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.” Sadly, many aren’t living up to the expectation of caring for those who need it, and when this happens, those responsible need to be held accountable.

Sean McDonough
Upon graduation from law school, he entered the private practice of law with Dougherty, Leventhal & Price. He has been a partner with the firm since 1993. Over the years, Sean has concentrated his practice in the areas of personal injury litigation; he has also represented governmental entities and officials in federal civil rights and employment lawsuits. Sean also works on many of DLP's Nursing Home Abuse cases.