Thursday, 31 March 2011

Sacramento Court Rules Trial Justified in Elder Abuse Case

A Sacramento appeals court has held that an El Dorado man, who claimed that his mother suffered a painful death because of extreme neglect on the part of her long-term care facility, has the right to a jury trial. The decision comes in an elder abuse claim filed by the son of Doris Hilton, a resident at the Eskaton Care Center in Fair Oaks.

The 78-year-old Hilton was admitted into the facility in August 2006. She stayed at the facility until November 26 that same year, when she was transferred to the hospital and later died. According to her son Dennis Lee Haney, the facility waited until it was too late to admit her to the hospital.

He filed an elder abuse claim, that included a wrongful death allegation, but the claim was dismissed by a superior court judge in 2009. The nursing home insisted that the charges amounted to negligence, but did not meet the higher standards for elder abuse showing recklessness and malice. Haney appealed, and a Sacramento appeals court has ruled for him.

According to Haney, Hilton underwent great pain and suffering, and suffered physical and mental anguish due to the deliberate indifference of the staff at the facility. The woman was left without care or attention, and was not given enough medications to treat her urinary infection. Staff at the facility did not respond to her cries of pain, and the nursing facility was too understaffed to care for her. Eskaton continues to insist that it provided adequate care to the woman.

In many cases, elder abuse by nursing homes and long-term care facilities only comes to light when families and loved ones of residents notice signs of abuse and neglect, and bring these to the attention of authorities.

As the family member or relative of a nursing home resident, you are the person’s first line of defense against abuse or neglect by the nursing home. That's why it’s so important that you look out for signs of abuse and neglect, and consult a San Francisco elder abuse lawyer when you notice these.