Nursing Home Employee Accused Of Patient’s Wrongful Death

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Nursing homes and nursing home employees are entrusted with caring for our mothers, fathers, grandparents and others who need the kind of help their families simply cannot provide.  That care is supposed to be compassionate and attentive.  Unfortunately, it often isn’t.  An example of that is an Ohio nursing home employee who was recently accused of abusing an elderly patient, resulting in a wrongful death.

Patient Died of a Broken Vertebrae

According to News9 WCPO, a nurse at an Ohio nursing home who was in charge of tending to the elderly resident has been charged with battery resulting in the death of an endangered adult, neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury and negligent homicide.

A woman who was visiting her mother, who was the victim’s roommate, witnessed the nurse yelling at the elderly resident and physically and violently trying to move her from her walker. She also witnessed the woman lose consciousness in the bathroom.  Scalf, the victim of the abuse, was pronounced dead within 15 minutes of reaching the hospital.

Authorities decided to perform an autopsy, which concluded that the elderly woman had died as a result of a broken vertebra.  Prosecutors say that they have “very compelling evidence” showing that the nursing home worker was responsible for the resident’s death.  If convicted, she could spend up to 20 years behind bars.

Where Were the Nursing Home Supervisors?

There was evidence that the employee who has been charged with the woman’s death was not liked by other residents. Nursing home supervisors should have been keeping an eye on her to prevent abusive behavior.

New York law generally defines “wrongful death” as a death caused by the willful or negligent act of another. When a wrongful death due to negligence or misconduct occurs, the deceased person’s representative, typically a spouse or family member, may sue to recover damages from whomever is responsible for the victim’s death.

The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate the victim’s family for the loss they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s untimely death in a preventable accident.  That compensation can include:

  • Expenses incurred by survivors for medical and funeral costs
  • Loss of companionship
  • Monies earned by the deceased
  • Savings of the deceased
  • The degree to which survivors were financially dependent on the deceased

A senseless and preventable death like the one described above is difficult for any family. While no amount of compensation can make up for that loss, a settlement can bring a grieving family a sense of closure and financial security, and it can help others by putting nursing homes and nursing home employees on notice that this type of behavior simply will not be tolerated.

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