Last month, I wrote here as a Pennsylvania nursing home lawyer about the arrests of three former employees of a nursing home in Delaware County, near Philadelphia. The three women, ages 19 to 22, were caught on tape hitting and tormenting a 78-year-old patient with dementia. The tape came from a hidden camera placed in the room by the family of Lois McCallister, after nursing home officials dismissed the family’s concerns about McCallister’s bruises and complaints. Samirah Traynham, Tyrina Griffin and Ayesha Mohammed are all facing criminal charges and have been fired from the Quadrangle nursing home in Haverford. But more bad news for the Quadrangle came April 29, when the state Department of Public Welfare revoked the home’s license for “gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct on the part of officials.”
According to an April 30 article from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the state’s problems with the Quadrangle go beyond McCallister’s case. A report released by the DPW found that the Quadrangle failed to report abuse allegations and police investigations to the state; failed to conduct criminal background checks on employees in a timely manner; and made no effort to return lost valuables to patients, including eyeglasses. It also found medication problems: no doctor’s orders were found for two patients’ medicines, and another patient was not given prescribed medicine when needed. The Quadrangle last got in trouble two years ago, when a dementia patient drank antibacterial cleaner and another consumed paint, but it was given a full license last December. The current action means the Quadrangle may have to close if its appeal is not successful. The home’s parent company, Sunrise Senior Living, voluntarily closed five other Pennsylvania nursing homes last year after regulatory compliance problems.
As a Philadelphia injury lawyer, I’m glad the state is taking action. Clearly, the behavior of the three fired employees is unacceptable Pennsylvania nursing home abuse, and was probably not sanctioned by the management. The question is whether their behavior grew out of negligent oversight by the Quadrangle’s management, and the DPW’s report suggests yes. Working with elderly dementia patients is an important responsibility, which is why Pennsylvania requires criminal background checks and regular inspections. Failure to conduct those background checks quickly enough — to pick one example from the DPW’s citation — suggests that management does the bare minimum to comply with the law. Failing to administer needed medications or return lost eyeglasses may not even meet the bare minimum. None of this behavior suggests respect for these patients as people. As a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer, I hope the Quadrangle’s appeal gives the state a chance to air these issues publicly, so regulators and families can decide for themselves whether this is a safe place for our community’s most vulnerable adults.
If your family has been affected by abuse or neglect at a nursing home, you don’t have to rely on slow state agencies to take action. Instead, you should call Rosenbaum & Associates today to discuss how our experienced attorneys can help. For a free, confidential case evaluation, send us a message online or call toll-free at 1-800-7-LEGAL-7.