As a Missouri personal injury attorney, I was disturbed to see a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about a nursing home closed because of health violations. According to the Jan. 13 article, the Whispering Oaks residential care home was evacuated Jan. 11 after its pipes froze, causing toilets to back up and flood human waste onto the floors. Twenty-nine residents had to be moved, mainly to other facilities in St. Louis and Ferguson. St. Louis County officials said the home could be reopened as soon as the sanitation problem is addressed and water is restored. However, a spokesperson for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said state law enforcement will investigate separately.
Whispering Oaks has 70 beds for patients with diagnoses including schizophrenia, depression, mental retardation and diabetes. At least one resident said he liked the facility because it gave him a relatively high degree of independence. However, it also has a long record of health and safety violations. Past violations include dirty restrooms and kitchen; improper handling and administration of medication; a drunken fight between residents; and a cat using a potted plant as a litterbox. In one incident, a resident fell from a ladder while trying to repair a roof gutter and needed stitches for a cut in his leg. The resident said owner Naren Chaganti asked him to do the job, but Chaganti denied this. The state is already investigating the facility because of a September report that its drinking water was not up to standards.
As a St. Louis personal injury lawyer, I hope the state is thorough in its investigation of this facility, because nursing home residents deserve all the protection we can give them. Many nursing homes are caring and well-run facilities, but a few each year are revealed as unsanitary, understaffed or even abusive. Nursing home residents aren’t always able to speak out against bad conditions or ask for help, often because of the same problems that landed them in a home in the first place. That means abuse and neglect can go unnoticed for months, until an accident like this one makes the problems impossible to hide. By then, residents may have suffered serious harm that requires hospitalization, including dehydration or bedsores; infections from unsanitary conditions; improper medication and more.
Based in St. Louis and Belleville, Ill., the Lowe Law Firm represents clients who have suffered a serious personal injury as a result of someone else’s negligence. This includes neglect or intentional actions by nursing home staff and administrators who were supposed to protect and care for dependent adults. In cases of nursing home negligence, state and local officials may penalize the owners and staff and close the facility. However, these criminal and administrative actions do nothing for families stuck with the high costs of dealing with the abuse, such as medical costs, time off work and the cost of a new, safer facility. Through civil litigation, our southern Illinois personal injury attorneys help them collect these and other costs from the wrongdoers who caused them.
If you believe a loved one has suffered neglect or abuse at an assisted care facility, don’t wait to call the Lowe Law Firm to learn more. For a free evaluation of your case, you can call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 or contact us through our Web site.