$28 Million Awarded In Nursing Home Abuse Case
Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) April 16, 2013 – As bad as this story is, there are worse. That is a frightening thing for nursing home residents.
“Since I handle nursing home abuse cases, I keep an eye of the latest developments in the law,” said Michael Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer and Arkansas accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Arkansas.. “This case was revolting, but as bad as it is, there are worse cases out there. If this doesn’t shock you, it should, because in the future, it could be us in a nursing home.”
Even though this story took place in Illinois, it does not mean it could never happen in Arkansas. It is the tip of the iceberg for the standard of nursing home care across the nation; the underground kind of care that no one wants to hear about, know about or believe exists.
An Illinois jury found a nursing home guilty of providing substandard care to their residents. This apparently also went hand-in-hand with the owner filing false Medicaid and Medicare expenses on behalf of the patients who never received treatment. This case was a long time coming to trial, and the first glimmering of the horror it was to be began in 2004, when two nurses filed a whistleblower/wrongful termination lawsuit.
The nursing home was bought by someone else in 2006, and the new owners moved to have the lawsuit dismissed. That did not happen and the trial began in 2013, dragging on for nine long months. “The results of those nine long months of discovery, evidence and testimony were the jury finding the home guilty of over 1,700 fraudulent claims and abusing their residents. The whistleblowers received compensation as well. The judgment total was $28 million,” added Smith.
Elder abuse may come in many forms ranging from withholding medications to chemical restraints and from physical abuse to psychological abuse. Nursing home residents often have chronic illnesses, struggle with mental issues and are extremely frail and fragile. They depend on the nursing staff to help them. Instead, they are abused in ways we could not possibly imagine.
“The worst thing is that this kind of situation is not uncommon in nursing homes, and it largely goes unreported, as the residents fear for their safety and keep silent. Meanwhile, they may be the victims of abuse and/or exploitation. If you suspect something is wrong at a care home you visit, speak to me. This must be stopped,” Smith said.
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