On September 12, 2013, a lawsuit was filed in Virginia state court on behalf of a resident in a Virginia assisted living facility who allegedly was savagely attacked by another resident who was known to be violent. The 81-year-old woman, who has dementia, lived near to the resident who was known to act aggressively towards anyone he thought had entered, or attempted to enter, his room. The woman was allegedly attacked on June 9, 2012.
According to the Virginia lawsuit, the woman entered the assisted living facility in March 2008. At the time of her admission for assisted living care, the woman was suffering from confusion, poor judgment, and difficulty in expressing her thoughts clearly. Because her dementia progressed after March 2008, the woman was transferred to the Special Care Unit of the assisted living facility in July 2010, where she could be provided a “safe, secure environment.”
The woman was able to walk independently without assistance and was known to wander within the facility and outside the facility (she had eloped from the assisted living facility on several occasions). She was also known to use the hallway where the aggressive resident’s room was located, to make use of a common area and to exit the door into the facility’s courtyard.
According to the lawsuit, on December 3, 2011, the woman was sitting in the common area, watching television, when the aggressive resident came up to her and hit her on her head, twice, believing that the woman had entered his room (it was another resident who had done so).
On another, unrelated occasion, the woman had actually entered the aggressive resident’s room and the aggressive resident was observed clenching his fist and threatening to hit the woman if she did not leave his room.
In March 2012, the aggressive resident was observed in the common area grabbing the woman’s arm and threatening her.
An anonymous letter written by a staff member of the assisted living facility was found at the facility on July 26, 2012, alleging that the aggressive resident had hit the woman on two occasions that had not been reported by the facility and criticizing the under-staffing in the Special Care Unit, the quality of care provided, and the failure of management to respond to the harmful environment.
The June 9, 2012 Incident
The Nurse’s Notes for June 9, 2012 indicated that the woman was found in the hallway near the aggressive resident’s room, suffering from injuries from an allegedly unwitnessed fall. The woman suffered an extremely swollen face; abrasions to her nose, forehead, cheeks, and eyes; and, she was bleeding from her mouth and lips. The anonymous letter found five weeks later alleged a cover-up of the prior acts and threats by the aggressive resident against the woman.
The Virginia Department of Social Services (‘DSS”) investigated the matter and issued a report on November 16, 2012 in which it cited various violations at the assisted living facility, including with regard to the June 9, 2012 incident, “the [Fa]cility failed to assume general responsibility for the health, safety and well being of residents.”
If you or a loved one may have been injured (or worse) while a resident of an assisted living facility in Virginia or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the advise of a local assisted living lawyer in your state who may investigate your assisted living claim for you and represent you in a claim against an assisted living facility, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who handle claims against assisted living facilities.
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