In our previous post, our blog discussed how residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities are sometimes subjected to a level of neglect that is nothing short of appalling.
By way of illustration, we discussed a recent case out of Iowa, where a 20-year-veteran of the U.S. Navy was evicted from his nursing home and left all alone after neglecting to make the necessary arrangements concerning his bill.
Rather than helping to get the vet -- who suffered from several serious medical conditions -- signed up for Medicaid or taking other helpful steps, staff members at the nursing home simply made the shocking decision to evict him. Here, he was left alone in an unfurnished apartment without a phone, food or his medication.
In today's post, we'll continue to explore the fallout from this truly unbelievable story ...
Fortunately, the presence of the vet, who was dropped off at the unfurnished apartment with little more than the number of his Department of Human Service case worker, was noted by residents of the apartment building. One resident brought him such necessities as a blanket, eating utensils and a microwave, while the apartment manager brought him food.
An angry call to the nursing home administrator by one of the concerned residents of the apartment building proved to be entirely shocking, as the administrator informed them that the wheelchair-bound vet could walk to a neighboring nursing home if he wanted a meal and that it wasn't her problem that he was missing his medications.
The sheriff's office was summoned the next day and calls by the responding officer to the administrator about the virtual abandonment of the vet went unanswered.
The officer eventually took the vet to an area hospital, where he had to be treated for acute respiratory distress. However, he was later transported to another hospital where he received treatment for sepsis, anxiety, an elevated heart rate and signs of pneumonia.
"I don't think he would have lasted one more night there in the apartment," said the responding officer. "We would have found a dead body there the next day."
Fortunately, the vet recovered and, in a somewhat unbelievable turn of events, was placed back into the very nursing home from which he was evicted. All indications are that the necessary financial arrangements -- which likely should have been made in the first place -- are in place and that he is welcome to stay as long as he likes.
As for the nursing home, it is currently facing no criminal charges. However, it was fined $8,850 -- later reduced to $5,572 -- by the federal government for its conduct. The administrator who oversaw the placement of the vet in the unfurnished apartment no longer works for the facility.
If you were injured or lost a loved one to nursing home abuse or neglect here in West Virginia, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options for securing peace of mind.
Source: The Des Moines Register, "Ailing vet 'dumped' by Onawa care site," Clark Kauffman, Jan. 28, 2014