When making the difficult decision of what to do with an aging loved one, we do not just place the person we care about in a long-term care facility, we also place our trust in that facility. We take it for granted that the staff will be properly trained and oriented, and that at the very least an honest attempt to provide care will take place. Sadly, this is often not the case.
An incident out of Newark, New Jersey serves to underscore just how often the system fails. A nursing aide is under indictment for manslaughter after failing to provide care after an elderly patient fell and hit her head. In addition to not providing care, the aide:
- Failed to report the fall to other staff
- Lied and claimed another patient had caused the injuries after the injury was discovered
- Failed to take part in investigations and properly divulge the timeline of what occurred
The elderly patient died from the injury, and only after an inquest and investigation determined what had occurred was the aide held responsible. Sadly, most injuries that are the result of negligence are likely never discovered. Elderly patients are often unable to communicate when they have been hurt, and if the injury is not discovered and investigated, aides and nurses can continue to provide subpar care until someone dies.
Holding nursing homes and other medical care facilities accountable can seem impossible. There are many layers of bureaucracy, and determining where and when mistakes were made can be difficult, especially weeks or months after the event, which is often how long it takes for cases to be investigated.
If you or someone you love has suffered due to abuse or neglect at a nursing home, please reach out to an experienced attorney. Though in extreme cases the criminal law system may hold certain persons accountable, all too often civil cases are the only recourse when these incidents occur.