You trust the nursing home to care for your loved one, but sometimes the facility falls far short of its duty – so far short that employees can be indicted on criminal charges.
That’s what happened earlier this year in a case involving a vulnerable World War II veteran who died in the Northeast Atlanta Rehabilitation Center, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The veteran asked for help. He was in respiratory distress, according to video surveillance. No one responded. He died soon after his distress calls, according to the report.
The DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office announced that arrest warrants were issued for three employees of the nursing home. In June, the three workers pleaded not guilty in the death.
One employee was charged with felony murder and neglect to an older person. Another employee faced a charge of depriving an elder person of essential services, while the third was charged with neglect to an older person. They also face charges of concealing a death. Police investigated the case after a lawsuit was filed.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure safety
Nursing homes in Georgia must ensure the safety of their residents. According to the Georgia’s Department of Public Health Nursing Home Rules and Regulations, “There shall be sufficient qualified personnel in attendance at all times to ensure properly supervised nursing services to the patients ….”
A failure to monitor a patient in a nursing home can have grave results, as the criminal case in Atlanta reveals. In some cases, a nursing home may be responsible for a death because administrators failed to hire enough staff or workers in the nursing home were not trained to respond to a patient in distress. In the Atlanta case involving the veteran, law enforcement launched a criminal investigation that could lead to imprisonment if the employees who are charged are convicted.
Why you need a nursing home attorney in your corner
Not every case of neglect will lead to criminal charges. But families can seek justice in civil court, even if criminal charges are not filed or if the suspect facing charges is found not guilty. In a civil case, a nursing home may have to pay monetary damages to the victim of neglect or his or her surviving family members.
Knowledgeable nursing home lawyers like George S. Johnson know how to conduct comprehensive investigations into allegations of abuse or neglect. An investigation may find the nursing home violated regulations or allowed an unqualified employee to work in the facility.
By talking with an attorney as soon as possible after you suspect neglect, you increase the chances of getting justice for your loved one. A delay could mean that evidence disappears. Witnesses’ memories of what happened may be less clear as time passes. Georgia law allows people up to two years (in most cases) to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long, the Statute of Limitations may expire, meaning you cannot seek justice for your loved one.
Taking strong legal action not only helps bring justice to your loved one, but also protects other vulnerable nursing home residents from becoming victims. If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the Law Office of George S. Johnson today for a free and confidential consultation.