Company Slammed for Nursing Home Exploitation, Defends Self in Court
In a civil court trial against the largest nursing home and assisted living corporation in the country, the plaintiff’s lawyer blasted Emeritus for wanting “heads in beds,” as well as for “closing the back door” – statements referring to financial abuse and nursing home exploitation that packed the company with patients, and refused to remand them to other people’s care.
Attorney Leslie Ann Clement accused Emeritus Corp. of Seattle, WA of obsessing over profits to the detriment of patients in the company’s care. She said that, once the company got a patient into a bed, there was only one way out, and that was death.
Clement represents the family of Joan Boice, who lived in one of Emeritus’s establishments in Auburn, WA for three months – September to December 2008. She was an 82-year-old retired teacher suffering from Alzheimer’s. During her stay at Emerald Hills, Boice lost a significant amount of weight, and contracted at least four pressure sores, which, according to her family, contributed significantly to her physical illness and eventual death just after she left the nursing home.
Clement argued that, as soon as nurses at the assisted living facility noticed the pressure sores Boice contracted, the patient should immediately have been moved to a skilled nursing facility. Instead, her condition was not treated properly and she was allowed to stay in Emerald Hills while her condition worsened over several months.
When Boice first arrived at Emerald Hills, she was able to walk with her walker. However, 10 days into her residence, she fell and was then unable to get around without her wheelchair. Prolonged sitting created serious pressure sores.
The plaintiffs also complained about lack of staff. According to their allegations, Emeritus knowingly refused to add more staff, or properly train existing staff, in order to keep costs down. In fact, some nights, staff was so thin that there were no nurses on duty at all.
Clement accused Emeritus of being more of a real estate company than an assisted living facility.
Facility Denies Nursing Home Exploitation
The lawyer for Emeritus, however, said that there was no basis for the family to complain after Boice’s death.
Brian R. Reid, who represented Emeritus, said that Boice received “awesome care,” and her death stemmed totally from complications of her Alzheimer’s. None of her physical problems came from neglect or nursing home exploitation.
While Boice lived at Emerald Hills, the family did not complain about her care, according to Reid. “There are not facts that merit a substantial shift of wealth to the Boice family,” Reid told the jury. “They lost their mother to a disease, not to the people who were doing battle with a disease.”
Boice’s eventual death “wasn’t shocking to them,” he said, “and it shouldn’t have been.”
Reid also argued that the plaintiffs’ lawyer’s strategy was a typical “elder abuse formula” designed to “bash the corporation” in order to warp the jury into awarded a large amount of money to the plaintiffs.
“They don’t impact whether the care delivered to Joan Boice was appropriate or whether it caused her death,” Reid said. “It’s designed to put you in a biased frame of mind.”
The Strom Law Firm Defends Against Nursing Home Exploitation
If you suspect that you or someone you care for is a victim of nursing home exploitation, abuse, or neglect, do not be afraid to act. Estimates state 700,000 to 3.5 million seniors are abused, neglected or are exploited in nursing homes or assisted living facilities each year. However, most seniors are afraid to report their experiences themselves and therefore, are not getting out of their abusive situation. The Strom Law Firm understands that caring for your elderly loved ones is complicated and confusing. However, several laws exist to protect our senior citizens fromnursing home exploitation and abuse, and the Strom Law Firm can help you learn the details of the law and defend yourself and your family. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation. 803.252.4800.