A lot has happened in the world since our last newsletter. As we all continue to do our part to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the essential workers and emergency responders who have shown unimaginable selflessness and bravery during these unprecedented times.
To all the doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics, firefighters, police officers, retail workers, supermarket employees, delivery drivers and everyone else who has risked their own health and wellbeing during this pandemic, thank you for everything that you’ve done and continue to do for us all.
I also want to offer my deepest condolences to the people who lost loved ones due to COVID-19. While no words can take away your pain, please know that you are in my thoughts.
Unsanitary Kitchens and Food Handling Put Nursing Home Residents at Risk
Whenever we see a news story about the horrors in America's nursing homes, the focal point is often physical abuse, falls, medication errors, bedsores, and sexual assault. Not as much attention seems to be paid to the cleanliness and safety of nursing home kitchens. Not as much as should be, anyway.
While America's aging population continues to grow, many nursing homes are experiencing an increased demand for food, even gourmet chefs. The conditions, however, can be unsanitary.
An investigation reveals alarming kitchen conditions
FairWarning, a nonprofit news organization based in Southern California, launched an investigation into nursing home kitchens. The organization — which focuses on public health, consumer, and environmental issues — found that nursing home residents across the U.S. are at risk of suffering foodborne illnesses due to unsanitary kitchens. The results of the investigation were based on inspection reports, federal data, and interviews with residents and long-term care experts.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 230 foodborne illness outbreaks occurred in long-term care settings from 1998-2017. Approximately 54 residents died in the outbreaks. Another 532 were hospitalized and 7,648 become ill.
In one incident, a norovirus outbreak sickened 29 residents and 32 staff members at a Wisconsin nursing home. The outbreak was reportedly caused by failure to check the sanitizer levels in the dishwasher, as well as a clogged injector.
Norovirus or other less severe foodborne illnesses can affect any age group. Most people can recover within a few days. People over age 65 may sustain serious or life-threatening illnesses due to weakened immune systems, immobility, digestive system changes, and other age-related health conditions.
Protecting elders in the light of these unreported safety hazards
Despite FairWarning shedding light on the issue, the problem could persist. In July of this year, the Trump administration dismantled some regulations that could protect nursing home residents from foodborne illnesses. Requirements were deemed "unnecessary" by the Trump administration. They would have prevented nursing homes from hiring unqualified directors of food and nutrition.
Many states, however, are beginning to make food safety a priority. Some states are consulting food safety experts and inspectors to zero in on potential violations that are often overlooked.
To find out how we can help you, contact the Law Office of George S. Johnson, LLC and schedule your free case evaluation today.
Despite a nationwide trend that saw an overall reduction in violent crimes, Atlanta reported more violent crimes in the first six months of 2019, compared to the first six months of 2018. According to the FBI, the data is based on information from more than 14,000 law enforcement agencies and covers violent crimes that occurred from January - June 2019.
Violent crimes include robberies, aggravated assault, shootings, stabbings, rape, and murder. In Atlanta, there were 2,004 violent crimes that were reported in the first six months of 2019 – up from the 1,947 that were reported in the first six months of 2018.
While the data shows there were fewer cases of rape and robbery in Atlanta for the first six months of 2019 compared to the first six months of 2018, there were five more murders and over 100 more cases of aggravated assault in 2019.
What are we supposed to make of all this?
How does negligence play a role in violent crime?
Negligent security is a form of premises liability that involves a violent crime or attack occurring on someone else’s property. A lot of criminals are opportunistic, which means if landlords, businesses, and property owners don’t take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of those on their premises, people can suffer serious harm.
Common forms of negligent security include:
- Poor lighting
- Lack of fencing and other barriers
- Broken doors, windows, gates, and locks
- Lack of and/or poorly trained security guards
- Failure to install security cameras/surveillance system
- Improper monitoring of security cameras/surveillance system
- Installing security cameras that don’t work to give a false sense of security
- Failure to take adequate measures when a property is in an area with a high crime rate
- Failure to increase security following recent crimes in that area
If you or a loved one’s been injured on someone else’s property and the owner or manager could have taken reasonable steps to prevent it, you should strongly consider discussing your legal options with Attorney George S. Johnson.
When we hear about the horror stories of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and assisted living centers, it leaves an underlying uncertainty within us all. It makes us question if we can trust that these facilities will care for and protect our loved ones.
Sadly, many facilities employ dangerous and abusive staff members who end up hurting residents, and this risk of abuse to residents can be mitigated simply by properly screening employees.
Abuse, neglect leads to the death of an assisted living resident
A Powder Spring man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for elder neglect that led to the death of a 91-year-old man, according to Patch.com.
The victim was a resident of Sunrise Assisted Living Center, where he died in 2017. Prior to his death, the victim was found in his room with a bruised lip. He told a day-shift caregiver that he was punched and motioned to his face, chest, and groin. It wasn't too long after that when the victim became unresponsive. Staff members then called for an ambulance.
After being rushed to a nearby hospital, the victim was found to have facial bruising, multiple rib fractures, and a collapsed lung. After a few days of being unresponsive in the hospital, he was pronounced dead.
The accused perpetrator claimed that he never struck the victim and was unaware of any injuries. Moreover, the accused said that he caught the victim as he fell out of his bed and that the victim had banged his chest on the bed. He then said that he checked on the victim regularly throughout the night, and despite frequent complaints of pain, he ignored those complaints.
Cobb's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Christopher Gulledge, however, found that the victim's death was the result of blunt force trauma and assault. In addition, two other staff members from the facility testified that other residents had complained about the perpetrator. It was also discovered that the perpetrator had previously been fired from other caregiving jobs due to neglect.
Why you need a lawyer if your loved one has experienced abuse
If your loved one was injured in a nursing home or assisted living facility due to abuse, we urge you to report the incident to law enforcement immediately. Then contact us to schedule your free case evaluation.