A severe infection raging in an 81-year-old’s body was blatantly ignored by a nursing home in Gainesville, Florida while her family was told she was in fine physical health. The nursing home insisted to the family that her lab results were normal and blamed her disconcerting symptoms on her dementia worsening.
The infection continued to spread to the point of swelling which eventually caused her head to expand to the size of a basketball. She was finally admitted to a hospital, however it was too late and the infection ultimately killed her.
The victim’s daughter spoke out and stated that the hospital informed the family that this was one of the worse cases of neglect they had ever seen. Following the death and the hospitals statement, an investigation was done by Florida’s Department of Children and Families, which found the death as a cause of the nursing home’s neglect. These findings were sent along to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), which oversees Florida’s 687 nursing homes.
The agency took no action towards the nursing home, despite the State’s investigation showing signs of neglect and abuse. The nursing home was neither cited, fined nor had its license revoked.
USA Today Network Investigation
An investigation done by USA Today Network found that the AHCA rarely issues any fines, despite another state agency reporting neglect and/or abuse. There is scant evidence to show that the AHCA even investigates these deaths at all.
In this investigation, they looked into 43 cases determined to be neglect or abuse by the Department of Children and Families. Of these cases, AHCA did not fine or cite the nursing homes, regardless of the fact that the State found and reported abuse, in 32 of the 43 cases.
In two-thirds of the cases, there are no inspection records stating that the AHCA looked into the deaths. ACHA even admits to failing to conduct any investigation in 10 of them.
So, this raises the question, if the AHCA rarely fines or cites nursing homes, and does not investigate when a state agency sends findings of neglect/abuse then are these nursing homes ever held accountable for their neglect? If not, how much neglect and abuse goes without any repercussions?
If you or a loved one have suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect, call and schedule a free consultation with the lawyers at Kaire and Heffernan today.