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New York nursing home staff accused of patient neglect sentenced

Seven staff members who were accused of neglecting a patient at a New York healthcare facility called HighPointe on Michigan all pleaded guilty on July 2. According to the report, the seven individuals were charged after a hidden camera placed in the hospital revealed that they were failing to take care of a disabled resident.

The resident, a 56-year-old individual who had Huntington's chorea, was reportedly unable to walk and remained bedridden. As a result, he was completely reliant on the care provided by the staff members. However, the surveillance showed that the staff members ignored their patient's needs on a routine basis and consistently falsified business documents to conceal the fact that they were not properly caring for him.

All seven individuals pleaded guilty to reduced misdemeanor charge for falsifying business documents. As punishment, they were required to perform 100 hours of community service each in addition to being sentenced to one year of conditional discharge. However, it is up to the State Health Department to determine if they will be allowed to keep their licenses. A defense attorney stated after the staff members were sentenced that they became the scapegoats for the case though he did note that mistakes were made. However, he said that they not only acknowledged that they made mistakes but that they were taking responsibility for those mistakes.

When family members cannot provide adequate care for a disabled loved one, they often rely on a nursing home to help. While many facilities provide excellent care, others are accused of overmedicating or under medicating their patients. This is a form of nursing home abuse. If there is evidence that this took place, the family may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the staff members who failed to follow procedures and the healthcare facility where the loved one was staying.

Source: WIVB, "Seven nurses, nursing assistants plead guilty in neglect case", July 02, 2014

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