Nursing Home Gives Wrong Medication and Won’t Take Man to the Hospital


It was recently reported that nursing home American River Center of Sacramento, Calif., gave Jon Bell a fatal dose of the wrong medication (morphine meant for Bell’s roommate). Bell’s roommate called for an ambulance but the home, in an effort to cover up their actions, sent the ambulance away. If these allegations are true, the actions of the staff of this nursing home owned and operated by Genesis Healthcare are fairly classified as nothing short of neglect and abuse.

The case brings to light two serious problems that I believe plague many nursing homes here in New Jersey and across the country: medication errors and attempts to cover-up and hide poor care. Too often families are not told the truth about what really happened to their mother or father in a nursing home. They only find out when it’s too late and many times not until nursing home witnesses are forced to give sworn testimony in an injury or wrongful death case.

A 2010 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology revealed that among the 15,037 errors reported by 294 nursing homes in a two-year period, 5,615 (37 percent) were repeated one or more times. These are just the incidents that were reported, pointing to a pervasive cover-up culture in long-term care facilities.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, an estimated one in 14 cases of elder abuse ever comes to the attention of authorities; an overwhelming number of cases of nursing home abuse, neglect and exploitation go undetected and untreated each year.

If you believe a member of your family is being mistreated or abused in a nursing home or other care facility, it’s imperative that you look for physical and behavioral signs of abuse. You should report it to the facility administrator as well as your state’s senior citizen watchdog agency. In New Jersey, you can report this misconduct to the Ombudsman for the Elderly at 877 582 6995.

If you believe the neglect has resulted in serious injury or the resident’s passing, you should consider calling an experienced elder abuse attorney immediately. Like the Bell family’s experience, this is sometimes the only way to get answers so you can find out what really happened. For more information on the Jon Bell story, click here.

Don’t let your loved one suffer the pain and indignity of nursing home abuse. The attorneys at the Sugarman Law Firm have years of experience successfully trying elder abuse cases and will ensure your loved one’s facility is held responsible for their abuse and negligence. Call us today for a free consultation.

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