Florida Nursing Home Caregivers Charged With Abuse

1160103_prescription_drugs_2%20sxchu.jpgIn January, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) was arrested in Tampa after she allegedly slapped a 91-year-old dementia patient at the Lake Villas Health Care Center. 27-year-old Vanessa Lashawn Robinson was charged with felony abuse of the elderly for allegedly slapping a patient over and over with her open hand. According to law enforcement, police were called after a witness saw the 91-year-old attempting to protect herself from being struck by Robinson. The CNA was later released after she posted a $2,000 bond.

The following month, a New Smyrna Beach nurse was charged with abuse, neglect, and fraud for reportedly administering an incorrect drug to a patient at a Daytona Beach nursing home. 55-year-old Kathleen Pimental is accused of withholding a disabled patient’s painkiller, oxycodone, and instead administering the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal. The Florida Attorney General’s Medicare Control Fraud Unit conducted an investigation after a patient complained of severe stomach pain and blisters associated with medication administered by nurse Pimental.

Pimental is accused of obtaining a controlled substance through misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, or subterfuge. She is also accused of abusing and neglecting a disabled adult. Following her arrest, the Manor on the Green nursing home employee was later released from the Volusia County Branch Jail.

These two cases are unfortunate and poignant examples of nursing home abuse. In the State of Florida, a nursing home facility is required to provide a certain level of care to every patient. When a nursing home or its employees fail to provide proper care, the facility may be in violation of the patient’s bill of rights. If a nursing home resident is hurt or dies as a result of the facility’s negligence or abuse, family members of a patient may file a nursing home liability lawsuit. Although most nursing home abuse cases result from negligence, they may arise from an employee’s failure to administer the correct medications, failure to provide adequate medical care, emotional distress, failure to provide adequate food, and even physical or sexual abuse.

Residents who are incapacitated or who are otherwise unable to report mistreatment are especially at risk for abuse in Florida nursing homes. Unfortunately, the signs of nursing home abuse can be difficult to detect. If your friend or family member is a resident in a Florida nursing home, it is important to maintain regular contact with both your loved one and the nursing home employees who are tasked with your loved one’s care. If you believe a nursing home resident has been a victim of abuse or neglect, it is vital for you to report your concerns. A skilled Florida nursing home abuse attorney can help you protect your friend or loved one’s rights.

At Lazarus & Lazarus, P.A., our Miami nursing home abuse attorneys will advise you regarding the steps necessary to protect those you care about from being abused in a care facility. We assist clients throughout South Florida including Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Broward counties. To schedule a free initial consultation, call Lazarus & Lazarus at (954) 356-0006. You may also contact the law firm through our website.

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Florida Lawmakers Consider Statewide Driver Texting Ban, Florida Personal Injury Attorney Blog, February 21, 2012
Additional Resources:

Nursing assistant charged with slapping patient, by tbo.com

Nurse accused of switching Daytona patient’s drug, Daytona Beach News-Journal