Residents of nursing homes and skilled care facilities are some of the most vulnerable people in our society, yet they are often neglected and sometimes even abused by those whose job it is to care for them. On March 6, 2018, there was a senate hearing to examine the devastating abuse and neglect that is present in nursing facilities, including the sexual assault of Sonja Fischer, who was 83 at the time. George Kpingbah, 76-year-old nursing assistant, was found in the early hours of December 18, 2014, raping Fischer, who was unable to yell out for help or fight back due to her limitations. Unbeknownst to Fischer's family members, this was not the first allegation of abuse by Kpingbah. He had been suspended three times prior to this assault on suspicion of sexual abuse, yet the facility still allowed him to continue working the night shift.
Fischer's daughter attended the hearing, stating, "My goal by attending the hearing is simply to be my mom's voice and to put a face with her name. I don't want her to go down as being just another horrible statistic. Stronger legislation needs to be enacted to protect the elderly. These are some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and I don't think that we're doing enough to ensure their safety." CNN's article discussing the hearing detailed Maya Fischer's account of how her mother fled Indonesia as a child to escape the rape and killing of young girls by Japanese soldiers, only to fall victim decades later to a man whose job was to care for her.
This hearing comes after a litany of abuse and neglect allegations at nursing facilities in recent years, including the case of a 29-year-old woman in a vegetative state for years that mysteriously gave birth in December of 2018.
While there are many good nursing homes, there are also countless facilities that are more focused on their profits than the care they're giving to residents, unfortunately. Hopefully, this will begin to change as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that updates came in April 2019 to the way they rate nursing homes. They aim to improve the quality and accuracy of information through more transparency and promote quality improvement in nursing home care.
If you suspect you or a loved one has been the victim of neglect or abuse, you are encouraged to report it to CMS through state groups or the state's long-term care ombudsman program, whose information is provided on the Medicare website.
The attorneys at Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP has Attorneys licensed in Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee who are committed to helping improve the lives of nursing home residents. We have experience in litigating abuse and neglect claims in nursing homes, and encourage you to reach out to our firm if you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse or neglect at the hands of a nursing home. You can reach us through our website, or call us at (866) 380-2281.