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Nursing Home Abuse – It’s Enough to Make You Weep

Imagine one of your relatives being so doped up in a nursing home they don’t know who you are when you visit. Look for other signs of nursing home abuse immediately.

When you make the decision to place a relative in a nursing home, you don’t do it just because you “can.” You do it because they need care you can’t provide. You trust the nursing home management and staff will treat your relative with the same care and dignity that you would. In many instances, you would be right; in others, you would be in for the shock of your life.

Consider the case of Betsy Penny(names have been changed to protect the victims), so doped with pain medications she didn’t need and that her family didn’t want give to her, that she could no longer recognize her sister or other family members that came to visit her. Penny herself barely recalls the ugly details of the nursing home she lived in for a year, but she does remember how frightened she was all the time.

When Penny entered the home in 2006 at the age of 73, she was able to walk and talk. Eleven months later her family took her out because by then she was strapped into a wheelchair and wasn’t aware of anything going on around her. Her family is positive she would be dead today if they had not removed her. It took Penny over four months to recover from the effects of all the unnecessary drugs she was given daily to make her compliant and complacent.

There were other signals that all was not well at the nursing home in which Penny lived. Residents were so heavily drugged their heads were planted in the middle of their meals and Penny’s room smelled strongly of urine. Respect and dignity were totally absent.

Penny recalls the time she broke her hip and instead of getting protective bracing for the bed, they told her to sleep on the floor. The final straw was when a nurse gave Penny an insulin dose that just about put her in a coma. Penny is and was not diabetic, and had no need to use or any reason to be given insulin. Her family had enough and took her home.

Not only had the family had it with the nursing home, they were angry that other seniors were being treated the same way Penny was handled. They filed a nursing home malpractice lawsuit, yet to be resolved, but they are determined to stick to their guns and put an end to nursing home abuse. This may be a tough case, as the owner of the nursing home at the time Penny was a resident there was charged with felony health care fraud.

It also looks like the new owners have a string of charges and fines totaling $900,000 filed against them for Medicare and Medicaid fraud – specifically failing to provide proper/adequate care for residents of “their” nursing homes. Kind of makes one wonder about how the residents will be treated by the new owners.

Let’s be perfectly clear about something here; nursing home abuse is “not” acceptable in any way, shape or form. It is ugly, destructive, treats valuable human beings like garbage and needs to stop – right now. If you have suspicions about a nursing home your relative may be in, have proof abuse is stalking the hallways of the home, call a dedicated and skilled nursing home abuse lawyer. These cases are critically important for more than one reason. They are about making a nursing home environment safer for seniors and about putting a stop to this violence and abuse for the next generation to follow; and that generation would be us.

Charlie Donahue is a New Hampshire personal injury lawyer located in Keene. Donahue handles injury cases in New Hampshire and across the United States. To learn more about New Hampshire injury attorney, Charlie Donahue, visit

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