Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect–A Serious Issue in California

We are always following issues of nursing home abuse and think it’s important to talk about cases from time to time. We look at it as a way to remind our readers about the dangerous issues seniors face when they are in a nursing home. Last month a Superior Court Judge in Sacramento upheld a $29 million verdict in a nursing home abuse case. Judge Roland Candee rejected Horizon West Healthcare’s arguments seeking a new trial or significantly reduced damages in the case involving Frances Tanner, a 79 year old retiree who worked for the FBI and the IRS. Tanner suffered from mild dementia when she moved into Colonial Healthcare. During her time there she fractured her hip, which was left undiagnosed, and seven Months later she died due to an infected bedsore. Testimony revealed that Horizon illegally understaffs its sites and conducted business based predominantly on a concern for the bottom line, not on sympathetic patient care. The jury awarded tanner’s daughter $28 million in punitive damages and $1.1 million for pain and suffering, which the judge reduced to $800,000.

In addition to neglect, some nursing homes give residents medications for seemingly no reason. Antidepressants, antipsychotic and sedatives are sometimes given without consent and without valid diagnosis. Some facilities actually use these kinds of drugs as a chemical restraint to silence residents. As a consequence some seniors suffer a variety of adverse responses that include tremors, dangerous lethargy and a higher risk for falling or even death. According to Medicine Net, the risk of a senior dying increases by more than double when they are abused through neglect, physically, financially, sexually, or emotionally. If someone close to you is the victim of nursing home abuse, please contact the Brod Law Firm. Or if you have questions regarding nursing home abuse laws, feel free to contact our office.