Family Sues Philadelphia Nursing Home Over Father's Death from Exposure


February 10, 2010

Our Pennsylvania nursing home negligence attorneys wrote recently about a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigation of state-run veterans' nursing homes. As part of that investigation, the newspaper profiled a nursing home neglect lawsuit filed by a family here in the Philadelphia area. The daughters of Harold Chapman sued the Delaware Valley Nursing Home after the 75-year-old dementia patient died of exposure in December of 2007. Surveillance tapes showed that Chapman, a former Philadelphia police officers, simply rode an elevator downstairs with an off-duty staff member and walked out the door, two hours before any staff members noticed he was missing.

It was New Year's Eve when Chapman left the building; his widow, Barbara Chapman, said everyone in the building was busy getting ready for a party. Records show no one was monitoring Chapman at the time, nor did anyone stop him from leaving the building even though he was only wearing pajamas. Two hours later, a nurse noticed he was missing, but it took more than another hour to notify the home's commander and call the police. A search of the grounds on foot and by police helicopter turned up nothing, but the next day, Chapman was found dead of hypothermia, only a short distance from the building. A staff member who was with Chapman before he left quit his job when he discovered he would be questioned.

State officials would not comment on the incident. However, the Delaware Valley home was later cited for breaking several laws in the incident, and staff members were reprimanded or suspended for their roles. It was just one of several homes with serious problems found in the Tribune-Review's investigation. Unfortunately, as Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyers, we know that patients like Chapman are particularly vulnerable to neglectful and poorly-run homes, because they don't have the ability to speak out or protect themselves. We represent clients who, like Chapman's daughters, are pursuing justice from homes whose negligence has harmed or even killed patients.

If you or a loved one has suffered abuse, neglect or other forms of bad behavior by a nursing home and its staff, you should call Rosenbaum & Associates. To tell us your story and learn more about how we can help, please contact us through our Web site or call 1-800-7-LEGAL-7 today.