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The attorneys at Gallivan & Gallivan provide effective, aggressive representation to individuals injured in the New York area. Our priority is to maximize the recovery of our clients injured due to the neglect of others.

Four nursing home staff members were arrested for neglecting to provide care to a 94-year old resident at Focus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Cooperstown, NY. The elderly female resident was diagnosed with a 4cm x 2cm pressure sore after allegedly being left in the same recliner for 41 hours over Memorial Day weekend this year. The female resident, identified as “M.P.” received only one meal, one medication administration, and only one time was incontinence care provided by staff over the nearly 2 day window, as captured by facility surveillance footage. Not until the resident was removed from the recliner was she diagnosed with a pressure sore.

The NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the arrest and arraignment of four Focus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center employees on charges alleging they each failed to provide care to a resident. The four staff members, including 2 Licensed Practical Nurses (L.P.N.) and 2 Certified Nurse Assistants, (C.N.A.) were arraigned on 8/2/16 in Otsego Town Court in Fly Creek, NY. According to Schneiderman’s press release, Lorraine Caldwell, L.P.N., Amanda Gus, L.P.N., and Sarah Schuyler C.N.A. were arraigned on various felony charges including Falsifying Business Records, Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the first degree, and the misdemeanor charge of Wilful Violation of Health Laws. Donna Gray, C.N.A., was arraigned only on the misdemeanor charge of Wilful Violation of Health Laws. New York Penal Law 260.25, Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree, states that “A person is guilty of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree when he knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect.”

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helpNew York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced the arrest of nursing home counselor, Jack Stanley, for alleged sexual abuse of 2 residents at the Northeast Center for Special Care. Both residents involved suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Also known as “Northeast, ” the facility specializes in the care of brain injury, spinal cord injury and those requiring ventilator care.

Between September 2014 and February 2015, Stanley was employed by Northeast as a “Neighborhood Counselor” to assist new residents with activities and acclimation to the facility. Stanley allegedly used his position as a means to maintain contact with the two residents and forcibly performed sexual acts, including oral sex, on both residents.

“Committing sexual abuse against vulnerable New Yorkers is deplorable, and the allegations in this case are incredibly disturbing,” said Schneiderman. “We will not allow individuals to exploit their role as caretakers in order to take advantage of those they are meant to protect. Those who commit acts of sexual abuse will be punished.” As a resident of a nursing home in New York State, all residents have the right to “be free from verbal, sexual, mental or physical abuse.”

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A report published by ProPublica, a non-profit investigative newsroom journal, showed a spike in cases of elder abuse and invasion of privacy in nursing homes on social media. Twelve incidents were investigated within the first 7 months of 2016, totaling the amount of these occurrences in 2015. As a result, federal health agencies have announced plans to stop employees from posting demeaning videos and photographs of residents.snapchatting elders

On August 5, 2016, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a memo stating state health departments should begin checking all nursing home policies to ensure they prevent employees from taking and posting indecent videos and photographs of residents. The memo also called for officials to investigate complaints of such incidents and report offenders to state licensing agencies for investigation and possible discipline.
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An Upstate New York Nursing Facility is being sued by the son of a 63 year-old patient, who died after choking on a grilled cheese sandwich. Maureen A. Bali, a resident at Huntington Living Center from May through December 2015, suffered from dementia. As part of Bali’s resident plan of care, she was fitted for and wore dentures to eat. She required her dentures to be able to bite and chew solid food. Federal regulation 483.35(g) – Dietary Services/Assistive devices, states “the facility must provide special eating equipment and utensils for residents who need them.” On December 19, 2015, according to the lawsuit, Huntington staff “negligently, carelessly and recklessly” fed Bali a grilled cheese sandwich without wearing her dentures. Subsequently, she choked on the sandwich resulting in respiratory distress related to aspiration. Ms. Bali died on December 22, 2015 due to complications associated with choking and aspiration of food. According to a recent advertisement for the facility, The Center, self-proclaimed, “Secure Dementia Care Specialists” has a special needs unit “committed to providing expert and compassionate care in a warm, safe comfortable environment.”

Lawson L. Bali, Maureen Bali’s son, is suing Huntington Living Center for neglect and wrongful death. The lawsuit filed on July 28, 2016 in New York State Supreme Court, claims that his mother “received negligent medical care and improper treatment from Huntington, resulting in her wrongful death.” He also claims that his mother “experienced conscious pain and suffering from December 19-22, 2015 and was deprived of her rights/and or benefits created or established for her well being, in violation of nursing home laws, rules and regulations, as well as New York Public Health Law 2801-d.”

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A study published June 14, 2016 in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that at least one out of five seniors residing in a nursing home has experienced resident-on-resident abuse. Reports of resident-on-resident abuse were tracked over a period of one month in New York nursing homes through interviews, observation and incident reports. Of the 2,0111 residents included in the study, more than 20% (407 residents) said they experienced such abuse over that month. The research found verbal abuse was ranked highest followed by assorted instances such as invasion of privacy and menacing gestures, physical abuse with incidents of sexual abuse accounting for a small percentage.

Several factors had an impact on the amount of abuse experienced, for example residents in a dementia unit with a greater nurse aide caseload reported higher rates of abuse. Dr. Mark Lachs, researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine stated most of the aggressive acts that occur in a nursing home are due to community living. Residents often suffer from dementia or other neurodegenerative illnesses and are being forced into communal living areas for the first time in decades, which are often triggers for people suffering from these illnesses.  Dr. Janice Du Mont, a public health researcher at the University of Toronto suggested families of patients with dementia or patients prone to violent behavior should look for nursing homes with rooms or units set aside to prevent triggering aggressive acts. She also suggested touring facilities to see if the space feels adequate or overcrowded. Continue reading

A Nursing Home Aide in Cortland, NY has pleaded guilty to stealing a credit card from one of the patients under her care. Hope Pearson, a Certified Nurse Aide at the Crown Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Kellogg Road in Cortland, pleaded guilty to criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, a felony. Pearson, and codefendant, Schenekqua Carter activated the resident’s credit/debit card and illegally charged over $5,000 on the card after checking it’s available balance. The women used the card at multiple locations including a casino and numerous different stores and ATM’s.courthouse

Pearson’s sentencing is scheduled for October 4, 2016. Carter entered a similar plea and was previously sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution. The state Attorney General’s Office prosecuted the case. Nursing home residents are amongst our state’s most vulnerable citizens, and they deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity by those in charge of their care. For a certified nurse aide to steal from someone whose wellbeing is their primary responsibility is reprehensible. Nursing home professionals who seek to profit by stealing from defenseless residents will be held accountable,” said NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

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On June 14, 2016, a 76-year-old woman with dementia wandered out of Citadel Rehab and Nursing Center in the Bronx, NY. She can be seen on surveillance video standing in the Center’s lobby and leaving the facility with a group of people. Rufus Dunbar, the woman’s son arrived for a visit to find out that his mother was not where she was designated to be. After notifying staff that he could not locate his mother, they searched everywhere, yet still could not find her. Not until facility video surveillance was reviewed, did they realize that Doris Dunbar had wandered right out the front door. Rufus desperately pleaded for any help to find his mother Doris and bring her home.

Earlier this year, The Citadel Rehab and Nursing Center at Kingsbridge received a citation for a similar incident of wandering/elopement. On February 17, 2016 the NYS Department of Health conducted a Survey based on a complaint. After the investigation, it was discovered that a resident had set fire to a room, eloped after setting the fire and was missing for approximately one hour. Neither incident had been reported to the New York State Department of Health. According to federal statute 483.13(c)(2), the facility must ensure that all alleged violations involving mistreatment, neglect, or abuse, are reported immediately to the administrator of the facility and to other officials in accordance with State law through established procedures (including to the State survey and certification agency).

The NYS Department of Health performs investigations, known as surveys, of the quality of care and life of those residing in nursing homes throughout the State. These surveys are conducted every nine to fifteen months for purpose of certification, follow-up reviews, and for complaints or incidents reported to the DOH. Survey teams are comprised of multidisciplinary healthcare workers including nurses, nutritionists, social workers, pharmacists and sanitarians. During a standard survey, the quality of the care provided by the facility is reviewed. The survey team arrives unannounced and observes resident care, staff/resident interaction, and environment. Medical records and other documentation are also reviewed during the survey process. The healthcare facility can be found out of compliance when regulatory requirements have not been met and may be fined for each violation citation received. A plan of correction must be submitted and approved by the DOH before the facility is found to be back in compliance.

On Friday night July 1, 2016, Michael Adagba, a security guard at the Verrazano Nursing Home, Staten Island punched an elderly Alzheimer’s patient. The 83 year-old elderly resident was apparently trying to leave the facility when Mr. Adagba hit her. The resident suffered multiple injuries including bruising and swelling to her face, head and body. The security guard faces charges of felony and misdemeanor assault and harassment.

In addition to the criminal charges against the security guard, the security company and/or the nursing home may also face civil liability for the injuries suffered by the resident, as well as potential sanctions from the department of health.  The security company  / nursing home could be liable for failing to properly train the security guard, negligent hiring of the security guard, and/or depriving the resident of his/her rights under federal and state law as a nursing home resident.

According to federal guidelines, all nursing homes must develop and implement written policies and procedures that prohibit mistreatment, neglect, and abuse of residents. §483.13(c) Each resident has the right to be free from abuse. Residents must not be subjected to abuse by anyone, including, but not limited to, facility staff, other residents, consultants or volunteers, staff of other agencies serving the resident, family members or legal guardians, friends, or other individuals. §483.13(b)

A study published June 14, 2016 in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that at least one out of five seniors residing in a nursing home has experienced resident-on-resident abuse. Reports of resident-on-resident abuse were tracked over a period of one month in 5 urban and 5 suburban New York nursing homes through interviews, observation and incident reports. There were 2,011 residents included in the study. 407 (more than 20%) said they experienced such abuse over that month. The research found verbal abuse was ranked highest followed by assorted instances, including invasion of privacy or menacing gestures, physical abuse and incidents of sexual abuse accounting for a small percentage.

fightSeveral factors had an impact on the amount of abuse experienced.  For example, residents in a dementia unit with a higher nurse aide caseload reported higher rates of abuse. Dr. Mark Lachs, researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine stated most of the aggressive acts that occur in a nursing home are due to community living situations. Residents often suffer from dementia or other neurodegenerative illnesses and are being forced into communal living areas for the first time in decades, which are often triggers for people suffering these sicknesses.  Dr. Janice Du Mont, a public health researcher at the University of Toronto suggested families of patients with dementia or are prone to violent behavior, should look for nursing homes with rooms or units set aside to prevent triggering aggressive acts. She also suggested touring facilities to see if there is adequate space or feels overcrowded. Continue reading

On June 2, 2016, two nurses were indicted after being caught on video surveillance ignoring an injured patient at Peninsula Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  The incident occurred in October 2015. A 51 year old disabled male patient fell in the hallway at the facility, injuring his head and jaw.

Nurses Funmilola Taiwo and Esohe Agbonkpolor can be seen on video ignoring the patient for over 10 minutes as the patient crawled on the floor in agony. After several minutes of watching, Certified Nurse’s Aide Emmanuel Ufot was seen dragging the patient by his arm into his room. 25 minutes later, the patient is seen crawling back into the hallway bleeding profusely from his head and jaw injury while Taiwo and Agbonkpolor stood by watching. Ufot is then seen dragging the patient to his room for a second time by the collar of his gown, twisting it around the patient’s neck. Continue reading