The last of 17 former Buffalo, New York nursing home workers have been sentenced after pleading guilty to charges arising out of the neglect of a 56-year-old resident who was totally dependent on their care. The felony charges against them were reduced to misdemeanor charges and only one former nursing home worker (a nursing aide) spent any time in jail (15 days); the others (one registered nurse, seven licensed practical nurses, and eight certified nursing aides) were sentenced to community service.
Seven of the nursing aides and six of the licensed practical nurses pleaded guilty to charges that they falsified business records. One nursing aide pleaded guilty to the charge of willfully violating health laws and one licensed practical nurse pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person. The registered nurse and one of the nursing aides pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, for which the nursing aide was sentenced to 15 days in jail.
The former nursing home workers’ disgraceful, degrading, and harmful treatment of the resident were caught on tape in April 2014 by a camera hidden in the resident’s room that showed them failing to check on the bedridden resident, who was totally dependent on their care, failing to provide incontinent care for the resident, failing to provide him with liquids, and failing to dispense required medications. They were also alleged to have altered the nursing home records to conceal their neglect of the resident.
The former nursing home workers were fired following the allegations of nursing home neglect, and the nursing home’s director of nursing and facility director were removed from the nursing home.
One of the defense attorneys suggested that criminal charges were not appropriate and that the claims of nursing home neglect should have been resolved administratively. He further suggested that the former nursing home workers faced a difficult situation due to under-staffing in the resident’s unit, and the resident, who subsequently died from unrelated causes, was not physically harmed by the alleged nursing home neglect.
While there is no excuse for nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse as was alleged in the New York nursing home case, it is often the result of understaffing or improperly trained and supervised nursing home workers that nursing home residents suffer avoidable injuries, pain, and suffering that diminish their quality of life and affect their mobility, their level of pain, their mental acuity, and their overall enjoyment of life. It is no surprise that the elderly and the infirmed fear being placed in a nursing home after reading or hearing about egregious cases of nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse involving the most vulnerable persons among us.
If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) due to nursing home neglect or nursing home abuse in the United States, you should promptly find a nursing home claim lawyer in your state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a negligence case against a nursing home, if appropriate.
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