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Illinois Nursing Home Resident Left at Truck Stop

Many local news outlets reported recently on a troubling story coming out of southern Illinois. The sad situation is a reminder of the egregious conduct of many nursing homes in caring for those who need their aid.

As described in a State Journal Register story last weekend, investigation are underway after a disabled man was left at a truck stop in Alorton, Illinois. The man has diabetes and has a history of strokes.

According to initial reports, the man (who is 56 and wheelchair bound) was driven to a Denny’s Restaurant located at a Flying J truck stop in Alorton. The man was dropped off by care workers who then drove away. Importantly, this was an intentional act by the caregivers–not an oversight where he was accidentally left. In other words, they felt comfortable leaving this man to fend for himself in this environment. The Denny’s was about twenty miles from the home itself–the Lebanon Care Center.

What would possess the caregivers to do something like this?

Early reports indicate that it all stemmed from a dispute about background checks. Apparently the man did not want to undergo a background check, and so he was simply tossed out by the facility. A local police officer interviewed about the situation explained, “They just dumped him on the side of the road – no medication, no ID, no nothing. This is not a place for him, and someone should have recognized this is not a place for him.”

When officers discovered the man, they immediately called the facility and told the administrator to come and pick him back up. Reports characterize that conversation as stressed, with the nursing home administrator refusing to pick the resident back up and then hanging up on the police officer. Representatives for the facility eventually called again, saying that they reconsidered and would invite the resident back. However, not surprisingly, the disabled man did not feel comfortable returning to the facility and relying on them for support. Considering that the same “caregivers” had literally dumped him off at a truck stop, the man’s apprehension is reasonable.

Fortunately, the Illinois Department of Public Health has already been appraised of the situation. A spokeswoman for the agency noted that the matter is being investigated.

This sad scenario is a testament to the poor judgement of many connected to the care of nursing home residents. In too many cases, inadequate excuses are given following poor conduct. Regardless of the background check disagreement, it is obviously inappropriate to resolve it by tossing away the disabled man like some unwanted belongings. Similarly, challenges presented by some residents’ condition, like dementia, is not an excuse to engage in poor caregiving, like overmedication or inattention to proper nutrition. There is always a reasonable and unreasonable way to handle these sorts of issues. Nursing homes administrators and employees should always choose the reasonable route.

Feel free to contact our team of neglect attorneys if you ever suspect poor caregiving or abusive conduct has harmed a loved one.

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