West Virginia Nursing Home Sued Over Death

Despite ongoing headline-making news concerning abuse of the elderly in countless <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/nursing_home_negligence">nursing home facilities, the abuse continues. This time, the son of a nursing home abuse victim has filed a lawsuit against a Hurricane facility in West Virginia on behalf of his mother.

David Brafford, filing on behalf of the estate of Mary Brafford, alleges that Teays Valley Center and Genesis Healthcare Corp., were negligent in caring for his mother, Mary, from July 2009, said the Charleston Gazette. The lawsuit alleges that Mary was admitted to the facility for rehabilitation and, while there, suffered a number of falls, including one that caused a fracture to her left hip, said the complaint, which added that the Teays Valley Center also failed to provide a safe environment and to implement appropriate fall prevention measures, wrote the Charleston Gazette.

“Ms. Brafford suffered from systemic abuse and neglect causing significant injuries, [which] ultimately led or contributed to her death on or about Jan. 16, 2011,” the suit alleges, wrote the Charleston Gazette. David seeks damages for his mother’s medical care costs, her pain and suffering, her mental and emotional distress, her burial and funeral expenses, and punitive damages.

We’ve long been following the issue of nursing home abuse and recently wrote that Disability Rights Iowa, a part of a national network of advocacy groups established by Congress, recently published a derisive, open letter to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad questioning his plan to seek a less punitive method of regulating the state’s nursing homes. Disability Rights Iowa says the governor’s decisions are killing Iowa nursing home residents and causing them great suffering.

Meanwhile, as we’ve also written, a 2009 Congressional report revealed that over 30 percent of all nursing homes in the United States—5,283—received citations for abuse violations from January 1999 to January 2001. The homes racked up nearly 9,000 violations; the violations were such that there was the potential for harm, said the report entitled: “US House of Representatives: Abuse of Residents is A Major Problem in US Nursing Homes.”

Of the violations in the report’s prior two-year period, 2,500 were significant and could cause harm or could place the residents in “immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury.” About 10 percent of U.S. nursing homes—1,601—received citations for abuse violations that resulted in real harm, or worse.

The review of state inspection records was requested by Representative Henry Waxman (Democrat-California) who said, “We found examples of residents being punched, choked, or kicked by staff members or other residents,” wrote CBS previously.

Nursing home abuse spans indignities against these vulnerable members of society on all levels: Physical, emotional, chemical, and sexual. Neglect and even workers who have abused residents as part of pranks against each other are becoming more and more commonplace.

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.

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