Nursing homes are meant to be a safe place for the elderly. Patients expect to be properly taken care of, and their families place a lot of trust in the hands of facility staff and employees.
That’s why it is a tragedy whenever cases of elder abuse are reported.
Many residents are subject to the negligence of their caretakers, which ranges from apathy at its “best” to outright malice at its worst.
There are countless cases of patients who endure the following:
Sadly, many have also died from the abuse sustained by nursing home employees.
These incidents leave a lasting impact on everyone involved. For the victims, their families, and perhaps even the assailants, they are all haunted by the lingering trauma associated with these heinous crimes.
For nursing homes, their reputation is permanently tarnished due to the actions of their employees.
Listed below are 5 of the worst reported cases of nursing home abuse in recent years.
In December 2018, 39-year-old Guettie Belizaire was reported missing by her co-workers after mysteriously vanishing from work for several hours. When Melbourne Police arrived at Brookshire Assisted Living, they quickly found Belizaire in the room of a 69 year-old man with nothing but her bra on.
The patient, who suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia, had appeared “distraught and confused” when staffers entered the room. He later claimed that Belizaire had attacked him, and then proceeded to rape him. His accusations were proven following the results of a sexual assault examination.
Belizaire denied ever being in the room with the patient at the time of the assault. She was immediately suspended from BAL and subject to a criminal investigation. During the investigation, she accused police of having no proof she was in the room when the attack occurred.
Belizaire was arrested in April 2019 and charged with assault and “lewd and lascivious molestation of an elder.”
She is still awaiting trial.
In October 2019, 61-year-old Steven McDougle brought an elderly woman in his care to Methodist University Hospital after she allegedly fell from her bed. The victim suffered “extensive” facial injuries, severe infections, and her right leg, which had been put in a cast, was possibly re-broken.
Memphis police were called to the hospital by a social worker, and were appalled by the extent of neglect. The woman’s cast had been on for so long that it had grown attached to the skin. Staples were found across her body with skin grown over them. And when police attempted to remove the sock from her left foot, they inadvertently peeled off the skin on there as well.
Results from the victim’s blood work revealed high amounts of enzymes, an indication that she had either been assaulted or was otherwise kept sedentary for an extended period of time.
McDougle had identified himself as the woman’s caretaker when admitting her into the hospital, but he left before police arrived at the scene. He was later charged with domestic assault and gross negligence of an elder over the age of 60.
George Kpingbah was a caretaker at the Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis, tasked with looking after 83 year-old Sonja Fischer. Fischer, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s and rendered mute, was brutally raped by Kpingbah in December 2014.
Fischer’s daughter, Maya, recounted the heartwrenching days following the attack during her testimony at Kpingbah’s trial by saying, “My final memories of my mother’s life now include watching her bang uncontrollably on her private parts for days after the rape, with tears rolling down her eyes, apparently trying to tell me what had been done to her, but unable to speak.”
During the trial, Kpingbah made a bid for leniency by bringing up his life story–he had immigrated to the US from a war-torn Liberia, and was working to bring his three daughters over into the country.
However, even his court-appointed attorney agreed that there was “no rational basis” to justify the rape and called it “an unspeakable act.”
Kpingbah pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual assault in September 2015. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison, the maximum penalty for such a crime. According to the judge, this sentence was warranted as Kpingbah “violated a position of trust.”
In June 2018, the Timely Mission Nursing Home was fined over $77,000 for failing to properly care for its residents. The citation came following the death of Virginia Olthoff, a resident at the facility, in February 2018.
In the days prior to her hospitalization, Olthoff was horribly neglected. The 87 year-old barely weighed 100 lbs., suffered chronic pain, and was severely dehydrated. Although she made many agonized cries for help, caretakers only offered her an over-the-counter pain reliever.
When staffers couldn’t get a pulse or blood pressure reading, they still waited over 3 hours before finally calling an ambulance. A nurse at the facility attempted to justify their inaction by saying Olthoff “wasn’t that bad yet,” and that staff members “had other things to do besides sit there and watch the clock go by.”
The case was enough to warrant the attention of Senator Chuck Grassley, who wrote to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid demanding more information about the abuse which occurred at the facility.
In July 2019, 66 year-old David Boozer, a caretaker at a nursing facility in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, was arrested and charged with four felony charges related to assault. The arrest came following an incident on July 7th, where he beat an elderly resident while guiding the patient to their room.
According to a coworker, who worked with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, Boozer punched the elderly man in the chest in an attempt to force him back into his room. After guiding the patient back in a wheelchair, Boozer allegedly tipped the wheelchair and threw the resident to the floor.
He then proceeded to beat the man’s legs with the wheelchair. And when the patient entered another resident’s room, Boozer forcibly dragged him out by the shirt.
Police were called shortly after.
According to court reports, Boozer had previously been reported 20 times for similar aggressive behavior to the patients. The same coworker who reported the incident leading to Boozer’s arrest also recalled one instance where Boozer denied medication to dying patients.
The above cases may have made headlines, but a sad truth is that many cases of nursing home abuse go unreported.
According to several studies, only 1 in every 25 cases of elder abuse are ever reported to authorities. Many elders are afraid to speak out against their abusers.
Don’t ever be afraid to speak out against abuse.
If you or a loved one have suffered from abuse or neglect in a nursing home, long-term care facility, or a similar establishment, let your voice be heard.
You may be eligible for financial compensation.
We will put you in contact with attorneys who specialize in nursing home abuse cases. They will fight to the very end to ensure you are compensated for the damages you’ve suffered.
Please call us at (855) 344-1017, or submit your case here. The consultation is 100% free, and there are no fees unless you win your case.