Nursing Home Tragedies

I am constantly amazed and disturbed by the level of abuse and neglect happening in nursing homes across the country. I talk to people everyday who say they can’t believe that any care facility could actually put residents at risk of harm or death.

To give credence to my pessimism, here are some very frightening stories gathered from recent news articles. (The titles provide links to full articles.) WARNING: Some of the following stories are highly disturbing and could be upsetting to many readers. Please read only if you have a strong stomach.

1. Pigeon Forge Nursing Home Aides Get Prison ( Two women who worked at Pigeon Forge Care and Rehabilitation Center in Tennessee were sentenced to two years in prison for taking nude and degrading photos and videos of patients.

‘The nature of these offenses were so shocking, reprehensible and offensive,’ said [Sevier County Circuit Court Judge Richard] Vance prior to handing down their respective punishments.

Some examples: An elderly man lying naked on the floor…an elderly topless woman lying in bed wearing a diaper…a naked elderly man sitting on the toilet with beads around his neck. The women who took the photos were responsible for dressing, changing, cleaning, and feeding severely disabled adults. They claimed they didn’t know what they had done was wrong. Thank heavens the judge gave them the maximum allowable punishment allowed by law.

2. Nursing Home Resident Left On Toilet ( Workers at Good Samaritan Society nursing home in southern Minnesota forgot about a patient and went home for the day…leaving the patient on the toilet for 90 minutes. The patient had dementia, and was unable to call out for help. “She was found by chance and was still strapped into the mechanical lift used to transport her. She had dark red marks on her buttocks that eventually faded, the report said.”

3. Willmar Nursing Home Blamed for Resident Choking to Death on Raw Cukes ( A resident of Bethesda Heritage Center in Willmar, Minnesota,  choked to death on raw cucumbers that should not have been served to her.

The resident, who was not identified in the report, was admitted to the center more than two years earlier for chronic breathing trouble and anxiety. She was on a restrictive diet, which banned raw vegetables and anything else that was not “well cooked,” because of difficulty swallowing.

4. Nurse Charged with Neglect (The Times Herald): A nurse has been charged with neglecting a patient at AristCare at Meadow Springs in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania.

When the patient’s ventilator became detached on Aug. 13, 2009, an alarm sounded and continued until the respiratory therapist walked into the room about 90 seconds later and allegedly found Oke standing with his arms crossed behind the door.

When the therapist asked Oke about the woman being disconnected from the breathing apparatus, he reportedly said, “I connected her twice, now I want to see her suffer,” according to the prosecution. The respiratory specialist then reconnected the breathing tube while the nurse looked on without assisting.

The nurse was subsequently fired.

This next one is the worst, quite horrifying–consider yourself warned…

5. Everett Nursing Home Owner Settles Case for $3.5 Million (Herald.Net): A man died as the result of gross neglect and shoddy care at Everett Rehabilitation and Care Center in Washington. I’ll just quote from the article; it speaks for itself:

A nurse on Nov. 7, 2007, reported to the home’s residential care manager that the man had a wound on his penis, records show. The manager went on a three-week vacation, and when she returned she forgot about the nurse’s report, according to an investigation conducted by the state Department of Social and Health Services.

She said she didn’t hear anything more about the man’s wound until a doctor at the hospital called on March 14, 2008 — four months later — to report that the man’s penis was gone and instead he had a gaping wound, records show.

“They knew his penis and scrotum were disintegrating and it’s outrageous that no one in his family or his primary care physician were ever notified,” said [lawyer] Matthew Boller. [The man died of cancer of the penis.]

HensonFuerst Attorneys

At HensonFuerst, we hear stories of nursing home abuse and neglect everyday. We believe that nursing home residents should receive better care than they do–these are our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Every episode of human indignity diminishes us all. HensonFuerst fights to make sure nursing homes are held accountable for the care they give, and we fight for the basic human rights of residents.

If you believe someone you know is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, call one of the caring lawyers of HensonFuerst. We’re available 24/7. Just call 1-800-4LAW-Med, or visit our website at We’ll work to get your loved one the care he or she deserves. If you have a problem, HensonFuerst has a solution.

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