With the senior population growing and living longer, concern for their welfare is paramount. The elderly are among our most fragile citizens and, often, we have no choice but to place our older relatives in the care of others. Sadly, families are left with limited options as reports of nursing home abuse continue to rise. Yet, despite ongoing headline-making news concerning abuse of the elderly, the abuse does continue.
In a shocking case, the family of a 90-year-old Alzheimer’s patient claims their mother received poor care by a nursing home that allowed an unbelievable 57 maggots to grow in her ear, said The Chicago Tribune, citing the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
The medical malpractice lawsuit claims that Catherine McCann suffered severe injuries, elder abuse, and neglect because the Lutheran Home in Arlington Heights, Illinois never provided her with “a reasonable standard of professional care,” according to The Chicago Tribune.
A nurse at the facility discovered a maggot moving in Catherine’s ear on September 16. An ambulance was called and she was rushed to the hospital, according to the nursing home’s administrator, Phil Hemmer, wrote The Chicago Tribune. In the Northwest Community Hospital emergency room, McCann’s daughter watched the larvae of flies crawling out of her mother’s left ear as the maggots were being removed, the lawsuit, which was filed on November 28, states.
The McCann family had filed a prior complaint with the state Department of Public Health; however, an October investigation revealed no violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, said Melaney Arnold, a department spokeswoman. The family’s attorney said the maggots, which were sent to a laboratory, were found to be about three days old. “I’m curious how someone could wash her hair and not notice 57 maggots,” the family’s attorney said to The Chicago Tribune.
Catherine was immediately transferred to another facility.
Meanwhile, Catherine was prescribed medicated eardrops for an ear condition about one week before the maggots were discovered. She received the final dose the night before she was taken to the hospital, said The Chicago Tribune.
The facility cares for 372 nursing home patients, 80 of those patients reside in a specialized unit for Alzheimer’s care. “This is a freak occurrence that has nothing to do with the care she was provided or the environment she was living in,” Hemmer told The Chicago Tribune. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and no less than $50,000 in damages.
We’ve long been following the issue of elder abuse, 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.