Too Many Florida Nursing Homes Patients Suffer From Abuse and Neglect

May 3, 2012 Posted by in Medical Malpractice

Placing a loved one into a Florida nursing home or assisted living center is often a stressful decision for a family.  Once a home is selected, you and your loved one not only expect the staff to provide adequate medical care, but also to provide protection and security in the place where they live.  Unfortunately, in a recent special investigative report about Florida nursing homes, the Miami Herald revealed nursing home staff may be harming patients more than protecting them. 

According to Neglected to Death: Part II, the Miami Herald found cases of patients being left unattended and unbathed, starved and wounds un-dressed, leaving residents to their own devices – and to die from neglect and abuse.  Residents die in Florida care facilities due to neglect or abuse at the rate of nearly one per month, according to the article.  40 residents died in just the past five years. 

The most startling findings by the reporters, however, are that law enforcement rarely arrest anyone in these cases. Upon reviewing confidential records of 70 people who died in the past eight years in Florida nursing homes due to the actions of their caregivers, the Miami Herald found that even when caretakers admitted to breaking the law arrests were not made.  In fact, during several death investigations caretakers were caught “forging and shredding medical records” and still, no one was charged. 

In one egregious case, a 74-year-old resident died after being strapped down to her bed so tightly that she suffered blood clots.  The owner was given probation, and the charges were later expunged from the caretaker’s record. 

The article reports that many times family members are kept in the dark as to the events surrounding their family member’s death.  According to the article, many family members just found out from the reporters about the pain and suffering their family members endured prior to their death. 

So who is at fault?  The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) is responsible for the oversight of Florida nursing homes.  However, the Miami Herald found that in some cases bodies were released by the DCF to be embalmed or burned before coroners could determine whether neglect or abuse was involved.  The newspaper also found that even when the DCF noted errors or neglect, the fines and punishment issued were minimal.  The paper claimed, “sweeping failures in state oversight of Florida’s ALFs [assisted-living facilities] leave thousands of elderly and mentally ill residents to languish in dangerous and decrepit conditions.” 

Although our Treasure Coast nursing home abuse attorneys cannot comment about the events surrounding the deaths of the nursing home residents highlighted in the article, we do know that you expect your loved ones to be treated fairly and with dignity.  When that doesn’t happen and an injury or death results, you may be entitled to compensation. 

Contact a Trusted South Florida Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect Attorney

If you suspect that a loved one has been harmed due to abuse or neglect in a Florida nursing home, a South Florida nursing home abuse attorney with more than 36 years of legal experience can evaluate the circumstances of their injuries and advise you on your legal options. I am attorney Philip DeBerard, Injury Lawyer. My legal practice concentrates on representing victims of serious accidents and injuries caused by the negligence of others, including medical malpractice and nursing home neglect and abuse.

Our law firm represents victims of nursing home abuse and neglect across South Florida, including StuartPort St. LucieOkeechobeeFort PierceJupiter, Palm Beach and Vero Beach and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast. Call 1-800-299-8878 now to speak with a knowledgeable Florida nursing home abuse attorney or fill out our online contact form.

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