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New York nursing home fined for failing to protect residents

Anyone who is sending a loved one to a New York nursing home expects that his or her family member will be cared for, supervised and protected from abuse. When family members discover that their loved ones are subjected to nursing home abuse or the threat of abuse, however, the injured residents and their families can sue the nursing home for the abuse. It is a hard enough decision to move a family member into a nursing home and no one should have to worry about whether he or she has put that family member in more danger by putting him or her in the nursing home.

Sadly, two families are coming to terms with how their loved ones were treated at an upstate New York nursing home. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have recently fined a nursing home in Lake Placid after Medicare inspectors found numerous safety violations, including a failure "to protect its residents from potential abuse, neglect and mistreatment."

One man was the subject of most of the alleged abuse, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. The man has a tracheostomy tube and required a Passy-Muir valve to speak. The man claims that at one point a nursing assistant had removed his valve which made it impossible for him to speak. When he complained to other nursing home staff, however, no one investigated the incident.

The man and his mother also filed a complaint after a licensed practical nurse refused to properly suction the man's throat, making it easier for him to breathe. By refusing to suction him, the nurse failed to provide proper tracheostomy care several times over the span of a night. The nurse also refused to allow the man to call his mother and he was forced to use Facebook to ask a friend to call his mother for him.

The mother called the nursing supervisor, but she did not send the nurse home nor did she properly document the incident or immediately report it to her superiors.

The $20,000 fine also encompassed the nursing home's failure to look into the causes of another resident's injuries.

Source: Adirondack Daily Enterprise, "Nursing home fined over abuse allegations," Chris Knight, Dec. 15, 2011

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