A story this weekend from Channel 6 News Lawrence shared the tragic story of a family that is claiming their loved one was sexually assaulted at a nursing home. Any Chicago nursing home neglect lawyer can tell you that while sexual assaults are not the most common form of abuse at these facilities, they do occur far more frequently than many community members would expect. Of course, sexual assault in any form is repulsive, but there remains something particularly insidious about caregivers taking advantage of the vulnerabilities who depend on them.
In this latest case, a nursing home abuse attorney for the involved family explained that the family was filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit following an assault on their 87-year old mother. The assault allegedly happened in later October a year and a half ago. The elderly woman was assaulted by a nursing home aide, and according to documents filed by the family in the suit, there were some administrators at the facility who apparently tried to cover up the assault from the woman’s family, medical professionals, and law enforcement officers. If true, those are incredibly serious and disturbing charges.
The suit claims that a few days after the assault the woman was taken to the hospital. Once there hospital officials trained in detecting signs of abuse and molestation examined the woman. They found a series of lacerations and abrasions which led them to believe without question that the woman was the victim of a sexual assault perpetrated by one at the facility-a most egregious example of nursing home abuse. What makes it particularly troubling is that the alleged perpetrator has still not faced any punishment. The nursing home, for its part, has denied all allegations and claims that it will fight them in court.
Hopefully more evidence will be uncovered which sheds light on exactly what happened in this case. It seems pretty definitive if medical care providers at the hospital were able to identify abuse based on their analysis of the victim. However, as so frequently happens in these cases, the involved nursing home is not willing to accept any sort of responsibility for the misconduct. It is yet another testament to the need for the civil justice system to provide an avenue for victims and their families to demand accountability.
This case also highlights the fact that much abuse and neglect actually gets swept under the rug and is never uncovered by friends and family. Had this woman not be analyzed by medical professionals, it is likely that the facility would never have come forward and explained the abuse. Therefore, the family would likely never have found out about the situation and no accountability would be had.
Unfortunately, while state and federal regulators play an important role in ensuring these facilities abide by proper care standards, there are never enough resources put into regulation to provide anywhere the oversight necessary. At the end of the day demanding proper care comes down to the diligent eyes of loved. We urge all family members to do their part and ensure that proper caregiving standards are met.
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