Life Care Centers of America, was indicted last week on charges of manslaughter, abuse and neglect in connection with the death of a 74 year old resident at their Massachusetts nursing home. While civil lawsuits are often pursued by family members as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect it is rare to see companies facing criminal charges.
>>INFORMATION: Nursing Home Lawsuits
Life Care Centers of American, based out of Tennessee, operates 260 nursing homes in 28 different states. They have approximately 30,000 employees and generate nearly $2 billion in annual revenue. While there have been prior Life Care nursing home lawsuits filed against the company resulting in multi-million dollar verdicts, the criminal charges now pending against the company are the first of their kind in Massachusetts.
In 2004, a 74 year old resident at a Massachusetts Life Care nursing home was found dead at the bottom of a flight of steps. She fell down the steps after taking her wheelchair outside of the nursing home because Life Care Centers of America failed to follow doctor’s orders to put on an electronic ankle bracelet on the resident. The device would have sounded an alarm and locked the door as she approached the exit, preventing the terrible tragedy.
Prosecutors contend that the nursing home death would not have occurred if Life Care Centers had utilized the bracelet they were supposed to. They also face criminal charges for filing a false Medicaid claim in connection with the death.
This is not the first controversy Life Care Centers of America has faced as a result of their poor care and neglect of patients. According to a state survey in Massachusetts, the nursing home operator ranked in the bottom 11% of all facilities in the state. They have also been fined in the past for various deficiencies found during routine state checks.
It is the responsibility of a nursing home operator to ensure that physician’s instructions are followed and that patients are protected against the dangers they may pose to themselves. Doctors, residents and family members place their trust in nursing homes to provide proper care, and tragic consequences often result from such acts of gross irresponsibility.
Earlier this month we posted about a New Mexico nursing home lawsuit verdict against Manor Care, another large facility manager which has been plagued by instances of poor care, abuse and neglect.
The nursing home lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate cases of neglect and abuse in facilities throughout the United States. In many cases, serious and potentially fatal injuries are caused when the nursing homes cut corners and places profits above the safety of the residents. To determine if you, a friend or family member may be entitled to compensation for injuries, request a free claim evaluation.