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San Antonio Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

The state of Texas recognizes three distinct types of elder abuse that have occurred in and around the San Antonio area: domestic elder abuse, which is abuse that takes place in the home. The abuser is usually a family member or close friend, but it could also be a private caregiver. The second type is institutional abuse, in which an elderly person is abused or neglected while in any medical facility such as a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital. The third type is self-neglect, wherein a senior citizen neglects or abuses themselves by not taking care of basic hygiene, medication control, or other safety precautions.

All of these types of abuse can come in the forms of physical, psychological, or financial abuse or neglect. In San Antonio, one of the most severe cases of abuse in recent years was brought to light in 2014.

Casa Rio Healthcare and Rehabilitation Lawsuit

Nine families joined together to file a suit against the San Antonio nursing facility, stating criminal negligence as far back as 2011. Casa Rio had only just begun operating when the alleged crimes are reported to have started.

The cases detail how patients were left unwashed, unturned, and unattended while bedsores and maggots became a problem. According to the Texas Department on Aging and Disability, Casa Rio has received over four times the state’s average number of nursing facility complaints.

In 2015, an attorney representing the nine families came forward with a clarifying statement regarding the state of one patient, who had photographic evidence of a maggot infestation due to neglect in her ear. The attorney reported that it was unclear if the patient had become infested at Casa Rio, or at the facility she had recently transferred from; however, the charges filed against Casa Rio remained unchanged, citing the patient’s general appearance as well as injuries suffered as proof of negligence.

Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987

Texas state law has set into place standards for nursing home care in the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. It states that no elderly patient can be discriminated against because their care is paid for by Medicaid. It also gives them the right to give or withhold consent for medical treatment, including the right to refuse restraints or medications.

The law also states that an elderly citizen of San Antonio must be given full access to a personal physician, a long term care ombudsman, and any other advocates that are available through the specific facility.

In 1992, the Texas Elder Bill of Rights expanded upon this law, defining elder abuse in very specific terms. For example, physical abuse is described as “pushing, striking, slapping…force feeding…failing to provide information” pertaining to medical changes.

In the case of Casa Rio, the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct state clearly that bruises, lack of hygiene, soiled bed linens, and all of the other reported complaints are signs of physical abuse.

How to Report Elder Abuse

It is Texas state law that all concerned citizens have an obligation to report signs of suspected elder abuse. In the San Antonio area, this can be done by calling the Adult Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400, or by using the website www.txabusehotline.org. Through these two channels, an investigator will be assigned to the case.

If the abuse is occurring in a facility that accepts Medicaid, the abuse should be reported instead to the Attorney General’s office, where any accusations of Medicaid fraud are handled. To start this process, usually a call to the local authorities, such as the San Antonio Sheriff’s department, will start the investigation.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.texasbarcle.com/materials/events/6359/9874_01.pdf

 

http://legacy.kens5.com/story/news/investigations/i-team/2014/08/28/nursing-home-abuse-death/14756539/

 

http://news4sanantonio.com/news/local/update–casa-rio-class-action-lawsuit

 

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