Another nursing home death has been reported; this time in a Decatur, Georgia facility.
A 94-year-old wheelchair-bound woman was sitting outside of the Country Cottage Assisted Living facility during a routine fire drill when her chair brakes failed and her chair rolled down a hill and into a water-filled ditch, said LawFirmNewsWire. It is believed the chair’s brakes were not set correctly.
Elizabeth Street succumbed to pneumonia a few days later, found in the ditch by a County Cottage employee. Ms. Street was covered in cuts, abrasions, and mud. Ms. Street had been placed in the home after suffering from a broken hip the prior year.
According to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, some 1,800 elderly people who live in nursing homes die annually over falls; 2-6 percent of these falls result in a broken bone. Often, non-fatal falls can lead to permanent physical disability.
We recently wrote about a large jury award made to the family of former pro wrestler Chief White Owl (George Dahmer), who enjoyed a 30-year professional career as a World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) wrestler. Dahmer died just two months after entering a nursing home in Florida. Dahmer, 72 at the time he entered Lake Worth Manor (now Oasis Health) in February 2008, wasted away, dropping 30 pounds; was unable to walk or communicate; and developed ulcer sores that were so bad, they ate through to his tailbone and to the bone on both of his feet. He was brought to Oasis Health following bouts of dementia.
When his wife transferred Chief White Owl to a hospital, he was far too weak to accept a feeding tube and died in May. Just before his death, his physicians were considering amputating both of his feet. His wife and children brought a wrongful death lawsuit against Oasis Health, which exposed a number of issues, including understaffing and low morale by overworked nursing home staff. The same staff neglected to monitor Dahmer’s medication, leaving him overmedicated and motionless. This enabled his ulcers to fester, according to the family’s attorney. Instead of walking the patient around and ensuring he was moving, his body was neglected and rotted away, the attorney added.
As we’ve long said, with the senior population growing and living longer, concern for the care of this country’s seniors has become increasingly important and relevant. And, with the elderly among our most fragile citizens we, more often than not, have no choice but to place our older relatives in the care of others. Sadly, families are often left with very limited options, a scary prospect as reports of nursing home abuse continue. And, despite the headlines nursing home abuse has garnered, news of elder abuse continues, as can be seen in these two tragic cases.
Elder abuse is a devastating indignity that attacks these defenseless members of society on all levels: Physical, emotional, chemical, financial, medical, and sexual. Sadly, neglect, abuse, mocking, and even workers who have abused residents as part of pranks against each other are becoming more and more commonplace.