People in San Diego may have read a disturbing news article about the plight of senior citizens in California, and how their cries for help are being largely ignored by the California Department of Public Health. Shockingly, reports of abuse and neglect in California nursing homes are falling on deaf ears, even while senior citizens suffer the most dehumanizing and horrific incidents of abuse.
One example is the tragic case of a 95-year-old woman who lived in a Los Angeles-area nursing home. She was allegedly beaten to the point that she couldn’t eat or drink enough through her swollen mouth to keep herself nourished, and died of dehydration. Everyone suspected abuse, including the woman’s concerned family members and nurses at the facility. When she was finally rushed to an emergency room, the medical personnel there also suspected nursing home abuse, and a report was filed with the state Department of Public Health. But instead of springing to action and attempting to punish those responsible for this horrific abuse of a helpless elderly person, the case was ignored for over six years. Her case was finally closed, and despite the suspicious manner of death, the Department closed her case without taking any action against her caregivers or nursing home facility.
The California Department of Public Health claims they are addressing problems caused by their backlog of nursing home neglect reports, but to allow incidents like this to occur without reprisal or remedy is fundamentally unacceptable. People who have loved ones in nursing homes should file the appropriate paperwork when they suspect abuse, but they should also immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney, who may be able to get results when the bureaucracy of state government fails.
Nursing home patients deserve a reasonable standard of care, and allowing this abuse to continue unabated is not an option. When the most vulnerable among us are treated poorly, a personal injury attorney is a phone call away.
Source: NPR “When Caregivers Are Abusers: Calif. Complaints Go Unanswered,” Mina Kim, Nov. 9, 2013