It is never easy for families to make the difficult decision to put a loved one into a nursing home. Having to entrust the care of a family member to strangers can be frightening, especially with so many stories of neglect and abuse reported in the media. Most recently, a family filed a lawsuit against a Maryland facility for nursing home negligence.
Last August, an 85-year-old woman was admitted into a rehabilitation center. When her daughter-in-law went to visit her, she discovered that her mother-in-law was moaning in pain. As time went on, the woman's situation became unnerving, so she began recording.
While recording, she repeatedly asked for someone to come help the woman, but no one did for at least an hour. At that point, she stopped recording and left. Within 30 hours, the woman's mother-in-law was dead. After her death, it was discovered that one of the victim's arms was dislocated and the other was fractured.
For the time during which the video was recorded, the elderly woman's medical records indicate that she was resting comfortably, even though she can be heard moaning on the video. Therefore, when staff with the Maryland State Department of Health reviewed the medical records, they did not find any cause for alarm. The family has since sent the video to the agency asking them to conduct another review.
In the meantime, the nursing home negligence lawsuit is moving forward. The court will need to be convinced by the evidence presented that the plaintiffs' loved one died due to the negligence of the facility and its staff before an award of damages will be considered. If the victim's surviving family members prevail, the court could order monetary damages to them. The court may also order the facility to make certain changes in order to protect current and future residents.