March 21, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Nursing home abuse: the shocking case of Momence Meadows
We all hope for the best as our loved ones age -- that the last years of life will be an experience of grace, dignity and respect. Most people hope to keep their family members at home, but sometimes institutional care like that available in nursing homes is necessary when medical conditions become too severe for untrained relatives to handle.
Federal and state laws and regulations set out specific, detailed standards for nursing home staffing, medical treatment, nutrition, safety, cleanliness and more. You should be able to expect that a licensed facility will comply with these legally required mandates for quality care, but unfortunately the media is full of ghastly reports of nursing home abuse and neglect
The jury's verdict
One recent example is the whistleblower case against the Kankakee, Ill., Momence Meadows Nursing Center or MMNC and its former owner. On Feb. 8, 2013, following nine days of trial, a jury in the U.S. District Court in Urbana levied fines of more than $28 million against MMNC's previous owner for the mistreatment of elderly and disabled residents, and for billing the state of Illinois and the federal government for Medicare and Medicaid fraud and inappropriate billing for substandard, nonexistent or unnecessary services.
The jury also awarded money damages to the two nurses, formerly employed at the facility, who brought the whistleblower claims. According to The Southern Illinoisan, the plaintiffs' attorney expects the defendants to appeal the verdict. (MMNC's current owners are not named or implicated in the lawsuit.)
The plaintiffs' complaint spells out shocking and repulsive allegations of repeated abuse and neglect of residents sometimes causing pain, suffering, disease, injury and death such as:
-Failing to provide food
-Allowing patients to lay in their excrement
-Failing to administer prescribed medication
-Creating unsanitary conditions that fostered infections, bedsores and infestations of scabies, and then failing to treat patients for these conditions
-Failing to comply with minimally required staffing levels
-Allowing a resident to take illegal drugs with staff
-Administering a dangerous medication to a patient to keep her from contracting hepatitis from her roommate without the patient's knowledge that she was being exposed to the disease
-And much more
In addition to the human costs, the plaintiffs alleged crafty, deceptive and manipulative acts to cover up illegal conditions from inspectors, including falsifying care records, as well as submitting claims for government payment of substandard or nonexistent services.
Seek legal advice
Like the nurses in the MMNC case, often staff are in the best position to learn about nursing home abuse, neglect and fraud. Any employee with such knowledge can speak with an experienced whistleblower attorney for advice about potential legal steps and remedies.
Likewise, family members need to be vigilant in watching for signs of abuse and neglect of their loved ones in nursing homes. Anyone who suspects their family member is in danger of harm or substandard care, or whose loved one has died in such conditions, should also consult an experienced personal injury attorney to learn about his or her rights, possible lawsuits and other legal options.
Article provided by Christian & Davis, LLC
Visit us at www.christiandavislaw.com---
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