A tragic nursing home wrongful death occurred in Florida nursing home that is part of a large conglomerate comprised in part by a Chicago private equity company.
The facts are despicable. Elvira Nunziata was a 92-year-old dementia resident at the Pinellas Park Care and Rehab Center. Mrs. Nunziata was a resident in the facility for a little over a year when she fell down ten cement steps while belted in her wheel chair. She may have spent over an hour at the bottom of the stairwell before she was found and evidence indicated she may have drown in her own blood.
At trial, it was found that the staff knew she was active despite being in a wheel chair and was prone to wandering. Three different alarm systems were called for in her care plan-on her clothing, wheelchair and on the exit door. It appears that none were in place or activated at the time of her fall. Earlier that same day, investigations revealed that the resident had been seen attempting to get through that same day. After her death, the facility spent $5000 to install magnet locks on all of the doors.
Trial testimony revealed that the facility was chronically short-staffed and lacking sufficient levels of the most basic of supplies. Complaints had been made by former employees to their supervisors, but no actions were ever taken. Most disturbing was the testimony of the caregivers stating that staff was increased to adequete levels during state inspections of the home, and immediately decreased to dangerous levels upon the departure of the inspectors.
The defendant in this case was Trans Health Management, which was part of a large conglomerate comprised, in part, by a Chicago private equity firm. Through various mergers and acquisition the company grew to having more than 200 facilities in 20 states, making it one of the largest private nursing home chains in the United States.
Another warning to derelict nursing homes. Companies and persons charged with the care of the elderly must be held to the highest level of care and held accountable for the their negligence and disregard for the safety of their charges.
We cannot stress enough the importance of family involvement in assuring this care. Our blog is rich with articles which will help family and friends to learn the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect and how to advocate on behalf of their loved ones. Please call with any questions-consultations are always free.
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