Out of the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, New York comes an incredibly sad tale of alleged horrid abuse committed by nursing home workers against their residents. According to local reports, back in October 2014, three employees of the Peninsula nursing and Rehabilitation Center – two nurses and a certified nurse’s aide – were implicated in the abuse. One of the nurses pulled a middle-aged male patient around on the floor while other employees merely watched.
The scene is described as the man bled from around his arm or neck, and was clearly in pain. He was allegedly left on the floor for about 12 minutes, though which had to have felt like eternity, and then was dragged all the way back to his room. Reports also indicate that the man was already seriously debilitated both physically and mentally. Close to another half hour later, he was bleeding from the back of his head as well as his face, while two of the staffers merely ignored him and allegedly failed to properly treat his injuries as the man crawled around back into the hallway. One of the staffers then grabbed in and again dragged him toward his room.
The nurses and nursing aide implicated in the abuse as well as the mere standing by and thus neglect to help the injured and bleeding man, all no longer work at the facility, having either been fired or resigned their positions. They have also been arrested for violating health laws and for endangerment of a disabled person, demonstrating that not only their employment status can be affected, but that they can face criminal charges for such alleged heinous behavior. All accounts are allegations at this point, and all three entered not guilty pleas. They each face up to four years behind bars if convicted.
The nursing home where this terrible abuse and neglect occurred has had a notable history of complaints in the last few years. There have been over a hundred complaints against this particular nursing home, and there have been 79 reported deficiencies uncovered by inspections. Both statistics put this facility way above New York state averages for nursing homes. This magnifies the importance of state and federal inspections and sanctions where facilities do not operate up to par.
Cameras are Watching
This incident is also particularly notable because the alleged abuse and neglect were all caught on camera inside the home. Officials relied on video from a facility hallway camera that is said to capture the man being dragged by one staffer along the floor. The footage also apparently shows him bleeding profusely, and further captures another one of the staffers dragging him again, as described above.
This may further embolden supporters of prospective laws that would mandate that nursing homes permit residents to keep cameras in their rooms if they choose to do so. Such legislation has made its way through the Illinois legislature, for example, all the way to Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk for a signature. While this particular New York case was captured on hallway monitors, it nevertheless may be cause to truly consider a general need for cameras to capture abuse and neglect and bring perpetrators to justice, or to even deter such abuse from happening. Such cameras in rooms as well as in hallways could accomplish this.
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