Neglect at NJ Facility Leads to NJ Woman’s Wrongful Hand Amputation

In a frightening South Jersey case that highlights the significant damage that can be done when nursing homes neglect patients, criminal charges were recently filed against a number of ex-nurses who allegedly caused a patient to lose her hand.

Seven former nurses at the Vineland Development Center, a residential facility for females with developmental disabilities, reportedly neglected a resident who suffered from severe physical and mental handicaps, resulting in the resident getting her hand surgically amputated. The catastrophic outcome stemmed from a broken finger, which prosecutors argue was improperly treated by nursing home staff.

An indictment filed by the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office alleges that the seven nurses acted negligently and failed in their duties to offer aid or assistance to the victim. Worse yet, the indictment states, the nurses failed to “permit any act” that might have prevented the victim’s physical condition from worsening.

Additionally, after the victim’s broken finger became a major concern, five of the seven nurses allegedly took illicit actions to conceal their wrongdoing by destroying written records of the treatment, or lack of treatment, offered to the victim.

Not long after the injuries came to light, in April 2012, the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees developmental centers throughout the state, began an investigation into the incident. Two months later, in June 2012, the department issued a detailed report about the victim’s treatment. According to an orthopedic surgeon who treated the victim, the bandages around her hand were wrapped too tight and the splint had been improperly placed around her fingers. As a result, the doctor said, the victim’s hand was gangrenous.

The seven nurses who allegedly neglected the patient were fired from the developmental center. At this time, all of the terminations are being appealed.

The nature of the neglect and the extent of the victim’s injuries have led some to question why it took so long, more than three years, for Cumberland County prosecutors to file criminal charges in the case. On the flip side, however, the severity of the injuries suffered by the victim probably means that it is good public policy to hold the liable nurses accountable for their neglect, regardless of how much time has passed. It is also possible that any personal injury lawsuits filed by the victim, or the victim’s family, could be affected by the outcome of the criminal case.

The Sugarman Law Firm has years of experience helping individuals who have been harmed by negligent healthcare professionals. If your loved one was injured as a result of nursing home neglect or abuse, we will help you seek maximum damages and compensation so that you can have some semblance of justice. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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