The Chicago Tribune reported this weekend on troubling news about the lack of action taken against Illinois nursing home officials. New information has surfaced which indicates that those regulators charged with preventing Illinois nursing home abuse knew of trouble at a series of facilities run by the Graywood Foundation but failed to act quickly.
Specifically, 2009 memo written by a nursing home investigator listed conditions at the homes for the developmentally disabled as “totally unacceptable.” It was a year earlier that a resident was ruthlessly killed after being assaulted by staff members at the facility. The murder at the home obviously drew intense state scrutiny; however, little was done to actually ensure that no future problems arose at the homes.
In fact, resident families were never told about those problems-the death was only one of nearly 20 other allegations of abuse and neglect. The inaction meant that it was only a matter of time before another resident suffered a similar fate. That repeat occurred in January of this year when a 42-year old resident was killed at the facility following an assault by staff members. The victim’s ribs were shattered in thirteen places during the attack, causing his lungs to fill with fluid, leading to his death.
The beating, which lasted 45 minutes, was apparently a punishment for the developmentally disabled man stealing food. Other reports indicate that another common punishment at the home was for residents to be forced to hold their arms out as heavy books were placed in their hands.
Two employees at the facility have been charged with first-degree murder for the latest death. Following that action, the family of the victim filed an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit against Graywood.
Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti remain appalled by the conduct in these homes. It is imperative that our state officials take proactive steps to root out these ghastly examples of abuse before more victims succumb to the trauma. Yet the reality is such that investigators will likely be unable to monitor all of the thousands of facilities across the state. For that reason, private citizens, advocates, and family members of residents must step up to ensure that the facility they are closest to remains free of this treatment. Contact an Illinois injury lawyer any time you suspect treatment should have been better at a facility near you.
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