The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a shocking story on Friday of a tragic example of nursing home assault.
The victim was an elderly dementia patient at the Golden Living Center. Late last week the resident was resting on a couch in the common area of the nursing home. While she was there, another resident, 65- year old Gary Dettlinger, walked into the room. Dettlinger was a registered sex offender, having raped a child in 1993.
Alone in the common room, Dettlinger attacked the victim, sexually assaulting her until someone else walked into the common area and broke it up. Dettlinger admitted to the assault while at the facility and is currently scheduled for arraignment.
It is unclear exactly how nursing home employees allowed the attack to occur in the common area.
Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti are well aware that one of the most common problems at nursing homes involves the abuse of one resident by another. Many observers fail to consider the consequences of this type of nursing home problem. But the fact remains that one of the most important jobs incumbent upon nursing home employees is the protection of weaker residents from those that are aggressive. Unfortunately, too often nursing home staff members fail in this task, allowing the worst sort of assaults.
No nursing home should ever create an environment where this abuse is possible. Employees can do better. Administrators should know better. We all have an obligation to report troubling conditions at these facilities so that no resident is forced to suffer because of neglect. Please contact a nursing home lawyer if you have suspicions of similar problems at a nearby nursing home.