If you have a parent, spouse, or other family member who resides in a Kentucky nursing home, it is probably your worst fear that your vulnerable and helpless loved one will be abused at the hands of a caregiver. While outright abuse is less common than neglect, it does happen. Nursing home abuse can be physical, verbal, or sexual in nature. The family of a patient who suffers abuse, neglect, or other mistreatment has a right to pursue damages in a court of law. Such a case proceeds under a theory of negligence in civil court.
When a caregiver’s mistreatment of a resident rises above mere negligence and becomes criminal in nature, there may also be proceedings in criminal court against the wrongdoer. Criminal actions are punitive in nature and are not designed to compensate the victim of the crime, although in some cases some restitution may be ordered. While a family may file a complaint with the police department concerning alleged criminal conduct, it is ultimately up to the prosecuting attorney as to whether there will be a prosecution.
Allegations of Wrongdoing by a Kentucky Nursing Home Employee
Recently, a former Kentucky healthcare worker was indicted on assault charges for her alleged abuse of an elderly nursing home resident. According to a press release from the Kentucky Attorney General‘s office, a 34-year-old woman from Dresden, Tennessee, allegedly placed a hot pepper into the mouth of an 82-year-old woman in November 2014. At the time of the incident, the worker was employed as a caregiver at the Haws Memorial Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Fulton, Kentucky. The woman was reportedly seen laughing at the resident’s reaction to the pepper. Another employee saw the incident and told superiors. The woman was later terminated from her employment with the nursing home.
As a result of the incident, the caregiver faces a charge of assault in the fourth degree, which is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, she could face up to a year in jail. It is important to note that the defendant has not yet been convicted of the crime of which she is accused. She is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
In the press release, Attorney General Conway was quoted as saying, “I applaud the healthcare worker who reported this crime. Instances of abuse will be investigated, and when appropriate, prosecuted.”
If You Suspect a Loved One Has Suffered Abuse in a Kentucky Nursing Home
As explained above, cases involving abuse of a nursing home resident can be pursued both criminally and civilly. To speak to an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer about suspected abuse or mistreatment of your loved one, call the law firm of English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley at (270) 781-6500 and ask for an appointment with one of our injury attorneys. We will be glad to review the facts of your loved one’s case and inform you of your legal rights to pursue compensation on your loved one’s behalf. We are currently reviewing nursing home abuse, neglect, and mistreatment cases throughout Kentucky, including Warren, Barren, and Simpson Counties.
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