When the time comes to decide how to care for aging family members, those who love them want only the best. Sometimes, that means entrusting medical professionals in a nursing home with the day-to-day supervision of an older person who may not be able to care for themselves. Unfortunately, there are times when those responsible may harm the older person, either directly or by not providing for their needs. A recent case here in West Virginia is an example of the latter, as two nurses stand accused of failing to provide medication to patients.
The two women at the center of this story allegedly stole pain medication from patients. Authorities report that they were taking the medication themselves and that this occurred multiple times. The investigation was sparked when a patient of one of the accused nurses experienced an overdose. The nursing home realized that its medication inventory was not accurate and requested police assistance to determine the cause.
The two women had worked at the nursing home facility for a few years. Their employment has been terminated by the healthcare company that oversaw the facility. They now face felony charges related to these incidents, relating to the theft of the medicine and the abuse of the patients.
While most people may think of “abuse” as involving physical or emotional assault, neglect is also considered a type of abuse. The two nurses in this case could still face civil litigation from the affected patients or their families for failing to provide medication. A successful claim may result in monetary compensation that could be useful in paying for any outstanding medical bills or other costs that could have resulted from this incident. West Virginia families who may be in a similar situation should understand that they have every right to seek to protect the rights of any family members who may not be able to defend themselves.
Source: wvnstv.com, "Two Fayette County nurses arrested for taking patients' painkillers", Kelsey Borza, May 30, 2014