I’ve written here twice before about the abuse caught on camera at the Quadrangle nursing home in Haverford, outside Philadelphia. I’ve talked about the possibility of a lawsuit, from my perspective as a Philadelphia injury lawyer, as well as the possibility that the abuse may go beyond that suffered by patient Lois McCallister. So I was not surprised to see a May 4 report from the Delaware County Times saying that McCallister’s daughter and son-in-law plan a lawsuit against the Quadrangle’s parent company, Sunrise Senior Living. And I was interested to read about other allegations against the home, as well as some background information about the family’s decisions and how they are dealing with the abuse, from the Philadelphia Inquirer on the same day.
Mary and Paul French, McCallister’s daughter and son-in-law, moved McCallister from Pittsburgh to the Quadrangle after a lot of research. The Quadrangle was expensive — $7,700 to $8,000 a month — but offered the care they needed and was founded on Quaker principles. However, when McCallister was moved to the dementia ward, problems began right away. Her hearing aids went missing; insurance forms were never completed; and McCallister started to complain about people hitting her. When the home denied the allegations, the Frenches bought a “nanny cam” and hid it in the room. Only a few days later, they had a video of three employees hitting and tormenting McCallister, who was not permitted to put a shirt on.
The three employees are fired and criminally charged, and the home says their actions were an aberration. The state has moved to revoke the Quadrangle’s license (pending an appeal), and the Inquirer said Haverford Township police have referred two other cases of possible abuse to state authorities. And last week, the family announced that it would sue Sunrise. The Times did not specify how much money the family will request, but their Pennsylvania nursing home lawyer said they hoped an expensive verdict or settlement would motivate the company to take abuse allegations seriously. For now, McCallister is living with the couple, who also have two teenaged daughters. They plan to add to their home to create extra space, and for now, Mary French is filling the role of caregiver.
This story is a good example of why families consider Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawsuits even when there are also criminal and regulatory investigations. Prosecuting the three employees gets bad employees away from vulnerable patients, which is good, but it doesn’t do much to the supervisors and parent company that allowed this behavior in the first place (and then failed to report it). Closing the Quadrangle may not hurt Sunrise much either, considering that it has 22 homes in Pennsylvania alone. But as a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer, I know a judgment of several million dollars, which is likely in this situation, would get any company’s attention. It would also refund McCallister’s family for more than two years of expensive care that is now suspect. For this family, which is now juggling full-time care of a dementia patient with raising children and working, it would provide some financial relief that can be used on an in-home caregiver or expand the size of the home. And it can provide some measure of compensation for McCallister’s emotional trauma and the family’s broken trust.
If someone you love has been mistreated or neglected in a nursing home and you’d like to explore a lawsuit, don’t hesitate to call Rosenbaum & Associates. Based in Philadelphia, we offer free, confidential case evaluations to clients throughout Pennsylvania. To set up a meeting, call toll-free at 1-800-7-LEGAL-7 or send us an email today.