Lawyers who handle nursing home neglect, negligence and abuse cases in the Syracuse and Central New York area are never surprised to see local nursing homes cited and fined for serious deficiencies. In fact, what is surprising is that more fines and citations are not issued. Bad conditions in nursing homes are pandemic, not only here in Central New York, but all across the United States.
So we at Michaels & Smolak were not surprised to read in yesterday's Post-Standard that three Syracuse-area nursing homes were recently fined for serious deficiencies that harmed patients. And for at least two of them, this was not the first time. The three nursing homes, and their wrongdoings, are:
St. Camillus Health & Rehabilitation Center in Geddes, cited and fined for serving a regular meal to a resident who was supposed to get pureed food. The resident choked, was hospitalized and subsequently died.
Rosewood Heights nursing home at 614 S. Crouse Ave. in Syracuse, cited and fined for failure of its nurses to wash hands, change gloves and take other infection control precautions and because staff members were not administering insulin injections correctly.
Central Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, 116 E. Castle St., Syracuse, cited and fined for failing to prevent residents from being exposed to a patient with a suspected case of active tuberculosis.
There are more than 34 million Americans over the age of 65, and approximately 40% of them live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. With an aging population that lives longer thanks to modern medicine, nursing homes have become a necessity for many. But nursing home negligence, malpractice, neglect and abuse are never a "necessity", rather, they are a shameful reality.
What causes nursing home abuse and neglect? In a word, "greed". Nursing home owners too often put profit before the well-being of their charges. They cut corners to shed costs to maximize profit. They can get away with this because their "customers" are too frail, frightened or disabled to complain.
Experts say that most abuse goes unreported because many seniors are physically or mentally unable to report it. Sometimes they are terrified of receiving even worse treatment if they report abuse or neglect.
How can you tell whether your elderly parent or grandparent is being neglected, abused, mistreated or is the victim of nursing home malpractice? Some signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect are: unexplained injuries, bruises, cuts, broken bones, torn clothing, bleeding, malnourishment, dehydration, and fear.
If you suspect an elderly relative in a nursing home is the victim of neglect, abuse or nursing home medical malpractice, call a nursing home neglect and medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your suspicions.