29-Year-Old Woman Gives Birth After Being Raped in Nursing Home

When I read the recent news about a 29-year-old woman who gave birth after being raped in a nursing home I was filled with rage. Chills shot up my spine and hot anger filled my body. Then, I remembered, THIS…. THIS is why we do what we do.

KABC Los Angeles just released this video detailing the incident.

Woman Gives Birth After Being Raped in Nursing Home
Woman Gives Birth After Being Raped in Nursing Home

The young victim had been at the nursing facility for more than 14 years after she suffered a near-drowning incident that left her in a vegetative state. According to news reports  the staff did not know that the victim was pregnant until she went into labor and began moaning.

The Arizona Department of Health says they are actively working with local law enforcement in their criminal investigation. Additionally, Adult Protective Services are conducting health and safety checks on all current residents of the nursing home.

It will be interesting to see what surfaces as the investigation of this nursing home moves forward. We will learn if past complaints have been filed and we will see if there are other victims. Perhaps what will be the most shocking, is if we learn that staffers knew about patients who were being abused but did nothing about it. Sadly, this is a very likely possibility and one that we see in both nursing home abuse cases and sexual assault cases in schools and churches.

Mandated Reporting Laws for Nurses, Doctors and Teachers

Many groups of professionals are mandated reporters. Teachers, doctors, and nurses fall into these groups. According to CPH & Associates, “Nurses are listed in most, if not all, mandatory reporting statutes.  Statutes include child abuse and neglect reporting statutes, medical neglect of children and the elderly, elder abuse in the community or in nursing homes reporting laws, and domestic violence.” This means that both the nursing home and its individual employees may be on the hook in this case. Both for a criminal lawsuit and a civil lawsuit.

Part of being a mandated reporter means that there are steps you MUST take if you suspect one of your patients is being abused or neglected. CPH & Associates lists the criteria found below:

  • Watch, look and listen to your patient.  Gather as much information as you can about the patient’s concerns;
  • Assess the patient constantly for any signs of physical abuse, mental anguish, fear, financial abuse or unusual behavior;
  • Document your observations and conversations pursuant to your facility or agency’s policy and if forms are required, use them;
  • Share your concerns with the individual identified in your facility or agency policy to do so (e.g., CNO, Administrator, Risk Manager);
  • Visit websites in your state that deal with reporting abuse and neglect to obtain guidance, especially in the event your concerns are not supported by your agency or facility; most have direct hot-lines for you to report your concerns without any agency support;
  • Consult with a nurse attorney or attorney to help guide you with the reporting, especially if you are not supported by your employer;
  • If you are in home health nursing, in the ED, or in a long-term facility, and you or your patient is threatened, either of your lives are at risk, or injury is a possibility, call security (if available) and 9-11; and

If this is the industry standard and nursing homes are built to take care of our loved ones how, then, did this pregnancy go unnoticed? The story is one we, as attorneys who sue nursing homes, hear all too often and it goes like this…

Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes and Skilled Nursing Facilities

Nursing homes and other facilities that care for the elderly or vulnerable commonly save money by hiring cheap, inexperienced nursing assistants (and usually not enough of them). These are the ones that the facility only puts out during the night shifts to hide them from the families of the patients. The facilities do little to investigate their backgrounds and provide even less monitoring.

Nursing assistants are an easy way for facilities to save money because there are no state regulations for the minimum number of nursing assistants to provide safe patient care. Nursing assistants do not have nearly the same amount of training or patient care skills as RN’s or LVN’s. In California, one need only complete a training program that consists of 50 hours of classroom instruction and 100 hours of supervised clinical training.

Nursing assistants typically are tasked with repositioning patients in order to prevent bedsores. The state sets mandatory minimums for nurses per patient per shift. Not so with CNA’s. Facilities will use an insufficient number of CNA’s to save money. When there are not enough CNA’s, patients miss out on basic needs like being repositioned. Not being repositioned leads to bedsores. CNA’s are commonly also responsible for changing a patients diaper and for toileting of patients. Again, not enough CNA’s means that patients are left in their own filth for prolonged periods of time. All in the name of corporate profit.

Leaving CNA’s unsupervised with our most vulnerable populations is dangerous. Many facilities for the elderly and vulnerable just don’t care enough to hire the right people to provide safe care. They only care about how much money they can cram into their coffers.

How Do We Protect Our Loved Ones in Nursing Homes?

Often, people think of Nursing Homes as places for the elderly only. As you can see from this incident, nursing homes are for anyone who needs nursing care. These are the places we are supposed to trust. We are supposed to be safe here. We put our loved ones in Nursing Homes when they need a level of care we can’t provide for them at home.

These facilities have a DUTY to care of their patients. Instead, their main focus in on making as much money as possible. Even if it means death, abuse, neglect and sickness in their facility.

The young woman in this story is the victim of a flawed system that, all too often, abuses the most vulnerable members of our society.  She was completely unable to defend herself  and after the rape she had no way to communicate that she was pregnant.

The victim in this situation required around the clock care and many people had access to her. How, then, is it possible that NOT A SINGLE PERSON noticed that she was pregnant? How was there no one who suspected abuse within the walls of this hell?

It is important to research any facility that you plan on placing your loved one in. We have written a comprehensive legal guide, The California Survival Guide to Finding a Nursing Home for Your Loved One: 7 Ways to Ensure That You Choose the Right Facility. A free download is available on our website.
Finding a Nursing Home for Your Loved One: 7 Ways to Ensure That You Choose the Right Facility
Finding a Nursing Home for Your Loved One: 7 Ways to Ensure That You Choose the Right Facility

If you or a loved one have been injured, neglected or abused in a California nursing home or skilled nursing facility, Case Barnett Law can help. Call us today at (949) 861-2990 or contact us here. 

 

Who is Liable in a Personal Injury Case?

You have probably seen co-workers and party guests show up at work and parties, respectively, sporting bandages, and then proceed to tell stories about the freak accident that resulted in the injury. Freak accident stories are quite entertaining, as long as the injury is minor, and the weirder the circumstances of the accident, the better. Sprained your finger lifting a baby out of a bouncy seat? Priceless! Bit your tongue in a tragic singing accident and had to get four stitches?  Dinner party anecdote gold! Caught 20 crabs in a single fishing trip, and the smallest one pinched your thumb as you threw them into the pot to cook them? You will be a local legend!

Orange County Personal Injury Attorney | Case Barnett Law Premises Liability Lawyer On the other hand, accidents that are serious enough to get you admitted to the hospital or keep you out of work for an extended period are not simply harmless fodder for shooting the breeze.  It is important to find out if any of the circumstances that led to the accident could have been prevented because any party that ought to have prevented the accident could be a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.

A Personal Injury Lawyer can Help You Determine Who is Liable

Imagine that you are finishing a canoeing trip with friends. You are getting out of the canoe, when it capsizes. As it overturns, you get injured when you crash into a post sticking slightly out of the water, part of a broken dock, which you could not see when you went to get out of the canoe.  It is a freak accident, to be sure, but was it anyone’s fault? Do you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, such that the liable party could be required to compensate you for your medical expenses? Is the owner of the dock liable for letting the dock fall into disrepair, such that the post caused your injury? If so, it is a premises liability lawsuit. Did the canoe manufacturer fail to make the canoe stable enough? If so, it is a product liability lawsuit. Did the friend who was in the canoe with you when it capsized fail to stabilize the canoe? A personal injury lawyer can help you parse which parties had which responsibility to prevent the accident and determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.

Why File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If you were injured in a preventable accident, a personal injury lawsuit can help you get compensation for medical expenses and lost income related to injuries suffered in the accident.  If it is a product liability lawsuit, a successful lawsuit could also lead to stricter safety regulations about the product.

Contact Case Barnett Law About Personal Injury Cases

Discussing your accident with a personal injury lawyer could be your first step to recovering financially from a serious injury. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if you have been seriously injured in an accident and think that you might have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.

A Personal History of Negligence – Is It Relevant?

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We all know individuals who are chronically clumsy or careless. These generally are not bad people; rather, they simply seem to routinely forget to take the precautions and protections necessary to keep themselves and those around them safe. While this can cause these individuals to develop a negative social reputation – individuals know to be on their guard whenever they are around such people – can this reputation be used in a personal injury lawsuit to help an injury victim prevail?

How Prior History Could Be Helpful to a Personal Injury Plaintiff

Plaintiffs who are injured by individuals known to be clumsy or negligent may wish to have this information presented to a judge or jury to help bolster their claim. The plaintiff could argue, for example, that because the defendant has a history of engaging in careless conduct that injures others, it is more likely than not true that the person engaged in careless behavior in the present case. In other words, the plaintiff could argue that while any defendant is capable of engaging in negligent conduct, a defendant with a reputation for clumsiness is more likely than others to have been careless in a personal injury incident.

The California Rules of Evidence and Evidence of Carelessness

Knowing the persuasive power of such evidence, the California Rules of Evidence prohibit a plaintiff from introducing evidence of a defendant’s character or reputation or of specific incidents of negligent behavior for the express purpose of creating an inference that the defendant is more likely to have committed a negligent act in the present case. To illustrate, the Rules of Evidence in California would not permit a plaintiff to introduce the fact that the defendant has been found at-fault in five previous car accidents to suggest to the judge or jury that the defendant is at fault in the present case.

There are exceptions to this general prohibition, however. First, evidence of prior acts or reputation can be admitted as evidence of the defendant’s motive or the lack of mistake. Also (and more significant), evidence of prior acts or reputation is admissible when used to rebut the defendant’s characterization of his or her habits or reputation. If the defendant in a car accident case testifies that he has a spotless driving record and is a careful driver, the plaintiff could then introduce evidence of prior car accidents in which the defendant has been involved to rebut the defendant’s testimony.  

Contact Case Barnett Law for Help with Your California Car Wreck Lawsuit

The experienced Orange County car accident lawyers at Case Barnett Law are thoroughly familiar with the rules of evidence applicable in California personal injury lawsuits. We know how to help you build a convincing case for compensation, and we will devote our firm’s resources to collecting the evidence you will need to prevail in your case. Call Case Barnett Law at (949) 861-2990, or reach out to the firm online for help today.

Multimillion Dollar Verdicts are Not Common in Personal Injury Lawsuits

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Headlines are littered with news reports and press releases of personal injury lawsuits and other similar cases in which the injured victims obtain millions of dollars in monetary damages. With the large number of such cases that are reported on by the media, one might be forgiven for assuming that the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits end with such large sums of money being awarded to the victim. This, in turn, can lead a person to seek out an attorney who claims to have a record of obtaining these types of judgments to handle his or her own personal injury lawsuit.

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The Truth Behind Multimillion Dollar Awards

In truth, only a small percentage of personal injury lawsuits end with the injury victim receiving millions – or even hundreds of thousands – of dollars in compensation. Those that do typically have several of the following factors in common:

  •      The victim was of a young age with few or no preexisting conditions that limited his or her life;
  •      The victim suffered a considerable amount of pain in the aftermath of the incident;
  •      The victim will be left permanently disabled in some way as a result of his or her injuries;
  •      The victim will require continuing medical treatment or medical assistance for a considerable length of time;
  •      The victim had children and/or a spouse who depended on the victim for love, companionship, and support;
  •      The victim was active in one or more activities prior to the incident, and as a result the victim may not be able to fully participate in these activities.

In addition, evidence that the at-fault party acted with extreme indifference, gross negligence, or deliberately caused the victim’s injuries can lead a court to impose punitive damages in addition to other economic and noneconomic damages.

What the Headlines Don’t Emphasize

Even where a victim obtains a multimillion dollar compensation award, this award may be reviewed by the trial court or one or more appellate courts. Any one of these courts may lower or throw out a judgment award they believe to be grossly unfair or disproportionate to the harm suffered by the victim. In other words, just because a victim was awarded a large sum of damages after a trial does not mean that he or she will actually get such an award, especially where the case was tried to a jury.

Can the Right Attorney Help Me Obtain More Compensation

To be sure, however, having the assistance of an experienced and skilled California personal injury attorney like a member of Case Barnett Law’s legal team can help increase the likelihood that you will receive a compensation award that fully and fairly compensates you for your injuries.  At Case Barnett Law, we carefully help our personal injury clients evaluate the losses they experienced as a result of their injury incident and then aggressively fight to help our clients obtain this compensation.  Contact us at (949) 861-2990, or complete our online form, and discuss your personal injury case with us today.

Nursing Home Saves Money at the Expense of its Patients. Ends up Being a $1 Million Dollar Mistake.

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L.F. v. Nursing Home

Case Barnett Law Corporation

Settlement: 1 Million Dollars

A lucrative nursing home in Orange County decided to save money on nursing staff. The nursing homes make more money by hiring fewer nurses than needed to provide appropriate care. Patients are then left in their own feces and urine for hours at a time. These patients frequently develop bedsores and other humiliating and painful injuries because they aren’t helped. Case Barnett Law made this facility pay.
91 year old L.F. ends up in the emergency room septic, with a bed sore, a 102 degree fever and a soiled diaper. She had been essentially forgotten about and left to die. Then, adding insult to injury, the nursing staff “backdated” their notes writing that they had recently bathed her and she had rolled herself in a wheelchair to the cafeteria smiling and laughing.
For two years the nursing facility refused to accept responsibility only offering $30,000, nuisance value to make the lawsuit go away. The family and Case Barnett Law refused to accept this. Like L.F., they are fighters. Case Barnett Law took more than 20 depositions and engaged in vigorous discovery to prove that the nursing home had neglected this beautiful woman. As part of the resolution, the facility must pay $1,000,000 to the family of L.F. and was forced to make changes in order to prevent this from happening to any one else ever again.