According to a local news investigation, over 200 nursing homes in the bi-state area of Missouri and Illinois were ranked as “much below average” by the federal government. This investigation came after a Belleville nursing home resident fell to her death.
The federal Medicare website provides a ranking of nursing home facilities on a 5-star basis. Anyone can search the database by location or name to find the rankings of their local nursing home facilities, where a friend or family member may be a resident. For example, of the 25 nursing home facilities within 20 miles of Peoria, Illinois, nine facilities ranked as “below average” or “much below average.” The website also ranks the locations on health inspections, quality measures, and staffing.
Unfortunately, nursing home negligence cases are not all too uncommon. A family in Cook County is filing a lawsuit against the Holland Home nursing home facility after their family member died of an apparent morphine overdose. Dorothy Byrd, 98-years-old, was one of 6 residents who were hospitalized after being sedated by a nurse on duty.
Two of the other residents also died within the next month, although those deaths were attributed to natural causes. According to one source, the patients were sedated to make things easier for the understaffed workers.
The accused nurse, Talisha Lillard, who was reportedly the only one on duty who could have had access to the drug cabinet denied the charges. “I do not know how she received morphine,” Lillard said during a videotaped deposition.
An autopsy of Byrd determined she died of toxic morphine and hydrocodone levels. Byrd had been prescribed hydrocodone for back pain but was not prescribed morphine. Her death was ruled as a homicide, although the State Attorney's office has not yet filed any criminal charges against the nurse or anyone else in the case.
Recently, five residents of a Chicago nursing home were taken to the hospital after suffering similar symptoms. A spokesperson for the Continental Nursing and Rehabilitation Center did not explain what caused the patients to fall ill, requiring hospital treatment.
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Professional Regulation handles the licensing of nurses, nursing home administrators, physicians, and others in the healthcare field. Many nursing homes and health care professionals encounter disciplinary actions for how they treat the patients under their care. Unfortunately, most people never hear about these proceedings or allegations.
Disciplinary proceedings can begin with a complaint from a patient, co-worker, or a patient's family member. The health care provider is then supposed to appear for an informal conference. Often times the informal conference is the end of the investigation if the conference results in a finding that the professional did not do anything wrong.
If you suspect a family member in a nursing home is being subjected to abuse or has been injured due to nursing home negligence, you should speak with an experienced attorney who understands Illinois nursing home negligence law. At Benassi & Benassi, we are committed to getting our clients the justice they deserve and equal treatment under the law.