Yesterday a Joliet nursing home lawyer at our firm filed a lawsuit against the Hillcrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on behalf of the family of 47-year old William A. Kahle. In September of last year, William was subject to abuse at the hands of another resident. The abuse allegations involving William come amid reports from state officials that dozens of residents at the Joliet facility were similarly hurt in the past few months alone.
William was admitted to Hillcrest in June of 2010. In September of last year William was physically burned by another resident at the home. Naturally, when William’s father became aware of the attack, he immediately filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Failure to prevent a resident attack like that is usually a clear case of Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect which violates nursing home standards. The IDPH investigated the incident, and the subsequent report confirmed that William had been burned by a fellow resident. In addition, the state regulatory body further cited the nursing home as having failed to document the resident attack or report it to the IDPH as required.
The Kahle family filed the Cook County nursing home lawsuit to hold the facility accountable for its failure to protect their son from harm. In particular, the suit alleges that Hillcrest maintained a dangerous environment, failed to properly monitored residents with known violent backgrounds, did not implement policies to prevent resident abuse, and failed to report abuse to the IDPH or the victim’s family.
Shockingly, the IDPH report also revealed that William was not the only victim. Another resident-a 26-year old man who suffers from bipolar disorder and ADHD- apparently abused at least 23 other residents. The IDPH report indicates a frightening series of behavior and lack of oversight regarding this individual that placed dozens of Hillcrest resident at risk. Our Illinois nursing home attorney Steve Levin summarized that, “Resident accounts revealed that this 26-year old male resident exposed himself, sexually assaulted both male and female residents, urinated on another resident, and used crack, cocaine, and SHAZAM (synthetic marijuana).”
Many of those affected by the attacks likely never come forward because of intimidation by the abusive resident. According to the IDPH report into the matter, the individual would threaten others with harm if they ever reported anything. He noted that he would “come back with a gun” if his conduct was revealed by those he had hurt.
The string of outrageous and harmful conduct perpetrated by this resident was allowed to fester at Hillcrest because of inadequate attention to the issue by facility caregivers. The seemingly chronic problems at the facility were a strong motivator for the family in this case. As William’s father explained, “We could not believe the nursing home allowed another resident to terrorize and abuse at Hillcrest. We decided to file a lawsuit so that others would learn of the extent of the abuse at Hillcrest. We do not want this to happen to any more residents, especially those who cannot speak up for themselves.”
Our Joliet nursing home abuse attorneys are well aware of the problems that this facility has exhibited for quite some time. Eleven years ago our firm handled another case against Hillcrest. In that case a man died as a result of the negligence of facility caregivers. Unfortunately, it does not seem like much has changed since that time.
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