Nursing Home Abuse A Tribute to Those Who Have Suffered Without Justice
A Tribute and Apology
To those that have served our country, protected our children, and those that waited as they did, I apologize. If you or a loved one have suffered in the hands of an assisted care or nursing home at a time when care, dignity, respect, pride, and admiration should have been at it's highest level and your care was far below standards, my heart cries. This goes double to those that never received justice for the wrongs that were committed against them.. Although some have tried to make it right and put a stop to the wrongs being committed, we dealt with a system that slapped us in the face, It almost seeems to horrific to be true when so many of you fought for everything this country stood for and now one that has failed when you needed it the most..
This article is dedicated to my dad, and the men and women who fought to make this country what they could only dream of. To those whose pain and suffering in times of war and need we can't even imagine, those who survived only to be left to live their last years, and unfortunately some of their last days at the hands of an abuser they never saw coming..
This May Turn Your Stomach But We Have To Make It Stop
Although reading the following will probably make your stomach turn, you should continue to read. I'm telling you this not just to have you read it, but maybe when you realize it happens everyday and will continue to happen until we make public officials and government agencies MAKE IT STOP, more will take a stand. If we don't we may just be their next victims
Our veterans, their loved ones, and our elderly are subject to neglect and abuse everyday. There are thousands of reports of abuse every year to agencies such as the Dept. of Health (DOH), or Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA) not including the ones that are never even get filed. One would think that filing a report with a government agency would protect those from future abuse and maybe give some form of justice to the ones that have already fallen victim to it, but if that’s what you thought I assure you that you are sadly mistaken. Take a look at some examples of the types of complaints filed, and then I will tell you why justice will never come for some. Oh yes, remember that word “complaint” you will be amazed at what you thought the meaning was, as to what it really stands for in some cases.
Here are some examples of rights that have been denied, or abuse they have suffered;
1) The right to personal hygiene. Some go for days, weeks, without a bath or shower. They may get a washcloth rubbed over their face without any soap or cleanser but that's it, which probably wouldn't be as bad, expect for the following. Some are left to lay, or sit in their own waste, (urine and feces) for hours and sometimes longer without ever being cleaned up or having their linens changed. They sometimes develop infections that are left untreated until the symptoms become so extreme that someone can't help but notice
2) The right to physical and mental stimulation. The amount of bedsores that are documented every day is enormous and others are never noticed until an autopsy is performed, (pretty rare in these cases) or a trip to the funeral home . How can it be that a human being is allowed to lay or sit in one position for so long without stimulation or motion that their flesh eats away to the bone. Not properly treated these sores can cause infections that can lead to everything from amputation to death. The mental stimulation is often a conversation that begins with someone shoving a tray in front of them and a, “Here’s your lunch”, and them giving a thank you. Then somehow we wonder why they feel depressed and forgotten.
3) They fall breaking bones, leaving bruises, cuts, and scraps some due to the fact they have been sitting on a toilet for hours with no assistance to get back to bed and they have the guts to try to make it on their own. Others are at times left without safety devices even though ordered are never put into place and they try to get out of bed, or a chair, they have been in for hours, or days, only to fall and make things even worse.
4) This is the one that will haunt me the most. They are left to the care of a staff who when has made an error will do everything including the overdose of that patient to cover it up. Patients do not have to be seen by their doctor who you thought was taking care of them (I’ll bet you didn’t know that one) They are left at the hands of a staff who without communication can order morphine even though it is contraindicated with a patient having a recent head injury. They can overdose that patient on pain medications even though all the signs of overdose are not only there, but being documented. They can due this without stress or worry, because they will have the doctor cover them and sign the order 4 days after the patients death. The doctor can sign the death certificate even though he has NEVER EVEN SEEN OR EXAMINED THE PATIENT GIVING THE CAUSE OF DEATH! He can also sign an order for morphine without even knowing the reason it was ordered or the order is contraindicated due to a recent injury!
I would go on but this would turn into a book and believe me there will be other articles.
Maybe Some Form Of Justice
Just so you are aware I am writing this 8 years after my fathers death. Why so long? Well, I'll tell you.
You see in 2003 after getting a copy of my fathers chart due to way to many things not making sense, two (2) investigations by ACHA only to say that NOTHING was done improperly :-), I began my mission. I researched, documented, copied and sent ACHA a report of inexcusable errors made, with medical documentation to prove it. They came back with a 17 page report basically stating the same, that they had found probable cause, and they were sending the report to the DOH (in Tallahassee) to review and to give the doctor a chance to tell his side. They later sent me a letter and told me when I called, that they (the DOH) had found probable cause and the doctor had not answered or filed his answer in the time allotted that it was finished. They told me he had failed to provide a standard of care along with not documenting that standard of care.
I knew it would never bring my father back, but hoped it would maybe stop it from happening to a few others in the future Boy was I wrong.
For Seven Years I Thought There Was Some Form Of Justice
Seven years had passed knowing, let me retract that, thinking that some form of justice had been done only to look on the website (I would say a fluke but everything happens for a reason) to find that no “public complaints” or disciplinary actions had been filed. Although he had other complaints, ok now I have to retract that because according DOH a “public complaint” according to the attorney with the DOH is one that has been found with probable cause. That is not to be confused with filing a complaint about an employee at a store. Thank goodness for that.
Seven years later it went in front of the board again and on 4/23/2010 they changed their minds, over seven (7) years after my fathers death, and decided there was no probable cause in this complaint. Why seven years? The attorney told me it was due to an error that the investigative branch of the DOH had made by not sending the investigative report to the administration department in a “timely” manner, which she apologized for
I never even got to tell my fathers side or defend him, when the doctor gave his what I'm sure was an unforgettable account of the events before his death. I never got to ask why he never even took the time to examine or meet him so how would he know anything about what had happened.
Burden Of Proof How Hard Can It Be?
So if you think that by going to the website you are going to be able to see complaints, ok reports, filed against doctors from the public, you would be wrong.
According to the DOH attorney probable cause is not an easy task stating “The burden of proof is enormous, far beyond a civil trial and a reasonable doubt”. Are you kidding me? There are people convicted based on not having a reasonable doubt which are sentenced to do life in prison and a doctor or health professional can’t even be disciplined until it’s beyond that.
The doctor blamed it on the nurses and staff, even though he signed the order, and the nurses blamed it on the doctor, leaving both with nothing more than a slap on the hand. Way to go guys. Oh wait I could try and gather more evidence even though I gave them approximately 50 pages or more, but could only make it concerning my father,, (not the others that died which I had evidence for), and they might consider taking it to the board again even though I would be late filing because the letter saying it was dismissed was mailed to the wrong address. All I can say is WOW.
With Devotion And Love
So I apologize, Dad to you and to the others who have suffered along with you, after having faith in this country you fought for so whole heartedly. I somehow know in my heart that you being with God have probably forgiven them and can only hope that some day it will come for me. Because honestly Dad right now I want them to feel your pain and mine. I love you and miss you more than anyone will ever know and thank you for devoting your life to our family
If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, neglect, wrongful death, or medical malpractice PLEASE I’m begging you to take a stand and make them pay. It doesn’t matter how, file a lawsuit where it honestly seems to hurt them the most, and file a complaint! Find someone that will help you, and take a stand otherwise you or I may very well be their next victims.
A Special Thanks
This paragraph is dedicated to Mr. Doug Burnetti of Burnetti PA in Lakeland, Fl. I just want you to know that you and your firm have a special place in my heart for allowing me to face some of those I accused and tell them how much it hurt and the pain they had caused. I have never forgotten the time you and your staff dedicated, or the understanding, empathy, and passion you all showed. I know it's been over 7 years and you might not ever see this, but thank you for helping me through one of the most devastating times in my life.
Need More Info Or Help
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Thanks for listening and make it an incredible day