Right here in Central Florida we have another example of inhumane treatment at a nursing home. The list of alleged abuses is sickening:
One resident suffered with an untreated impacted bowel for three weeks until her death.
A resident with Alzheimer’s fell out of bed. She called for help for an hour until she crawled to a phone and called 911. Firefighters rescued her and found the 3 nursing home on duty employees asleep.
Another resident tried to summon help herself for 3 hours but was ignored. She had to be hospitalized with a dangerously low insulin level. Investigation revealed the home did not have enough of or the right kinds of food to feed the residents, it was understaffed (even including the sleeping staff) and other residents had bedsores. These are just the tip of the iceberg of abuse and neglect in nursing homes.
In recent years tort reformers gutted what had previously been a strong nursing home resident bill of rights in Florida. The old law had teeth. It allowed for punitive damages, made nursing homes pay for attorney’s fees of residents that had to sue to enforce their rights and allowed meaningful private enforcement of violations. The new law severely limits the rights of nursing home residents subject to abuse. Punitive damages are almost impossible to get, nursing homes can operate without sufficient liability insurance and, believe it or not, the elder abuse laws were amended to exclude nursing homes. Sadly, our most vulnerable are now paying the price for the meanspirited legislative revocation of rights of nursing home residents.
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Medical Malpractice and Negligent Care.