Feroleto Law, Buffalo NY

Nursing Home Fined in Patient Death

In Buffalo, and throughout Western New York, there is far too many incidents of nursing home neglect. In fact, about one third of all nursing homes in Western New York have the lowest possible rating in scoring by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As a Buffalo nursing home neglect attorney I too often see a disturbing lack of care for our elderly.

A Delaware Avenue nursing home, was fined $10,000 by the New York State Health Department following fatal injuries an 82-year-old resident received in a beating last year. The woman was placed in the dementia unit where she should have received proper protection and supervision. Yet, she unknowingly wandered around the facility unsupervised and entered into another resident’s room in the dementia unit. An elderly man in the room, also with dementia, beat her violently, believing she was breaking into his house.

The woman died at the Erie County Medical Center, the primary trauma center for Western New York, three days after the attack. She suffered broken ribs, a broken neck, a broken nose, fractures to her face and a collapsed lung. The lack of supervision leading to the attack was only one of four deficiencies which led to the fine levied on the nursing home. The state also found no documented evidence that an admission agreement was signed by a responsible party for the male resident. In addition, the nursing home did not notify authorities within 24 hours of the incident and further, the facility did not notify the family or representative of the male resident that he was transferred out of the nursing home for evaluation at ECMC in a timely manner. The department directed the nursing home to submit a revised plan of correction to the agency for review and approval.

Seniors and their families often spend large sums of money to place elderly loved ones in facilities for safe care and protection. Unfortunately, many elderly residents are in jeopardy of harm by those to whom their safety is entrusted.
The federal government has a system wherein New York State inspects nursing homes. The inspection allows for the grading of deficiencies, depending on the severity and scope of the deficiencies. The most serious level is a deficiency which is designated an “immediate jeopardy” to residents’ health and safety.

The Center for Elder Law and Justice is an advocacy group for quality and safety in nursing homes. Tom Szczygiel, a volunteer attorney with the group stated “we are trying to make the public aware of what is going on in our nursing homes,” seniors and their families have a choice about where a loved one resides when they need placement in a facility, such as a nursing home. The rating system of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is a useful tool in determining the best nursing home to entrust the care of an elderly family member. It provides ratings from 1 to 5 stars for nursing homes, considering a number of factors which relate to quality in residence safety.

If you or a loved one is injured due to the lack of care or improper care in a nursing home or facility, you should contact a nursing home attorney to discuss your rights. Our seniors deserve to be cared for properly, and with dignity. Our seniors deserve to have a facility that complies with safety regulations, provides a clean and positive environment, and has adequate staff who are properly trained. if your mother, father, or a loved one, was injured due to neglect or harm caused by a nursing home. You should speak with an attorney with experience in nursing home cases.