Whenever abuse or neglect is suspected after the death of a child, a team of professionals is called in to determine if that child’s death could’ve been prevented. This has been the standard in Florida for over 20 years. Yet, when a senior dies in a nursing home, and abuse or neglect is suspected, there are no review teams that spring into action. Even when suspicious circumstances surround that elder’s death, it is often left up to the grieving family members to not only determine what went wrong, but to also hold the negligent institution accountable.
In the past, Florida legislators have proposed laws that would’ve established elder death review teams. However, those laws failed to progress through the state Legislature. Sadly, review teams may be the very thing that could prevent nursing home abuse and neglect fatalities. After all, these teams assess what went wrong and help determine if new measures can be put into place to prevent these types of tragic accidents from occurring in the future.
Tragic Elder Deaths Not Uncommon in Florida
A Florida investigation found that between 2013 and 2017, 54 elder deaths occurred where neglect and mistreatment were identified as a main cause. In these cases, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration rarely took action and in many cases investigations into the elder’s death were never even started.
Once such case, involved the death of an 84-year-old man at Consulate Health Care of Jacksonville. In 2017, York Sprattling died after he underwent surgery that was required to remove dead tissue from his decaying genitals. The man’s genitals became infected after he was not routinely bathed in the nursing home he lived in. Once the infection set it, it took 5 days of severe sepsis before the nursing home staff alerted physicians. According to the Department of Children and Families, his death was due to inadequate supervision and neglect. However the nursing home was never charged or investigated and no action was taken.
Goal of an Elder Death Review Team
The goal of an elder death review team is not to place blame on an institution or force criminal charges. The goal is to learn from these deaths and to determine ways that they could’ve been prevented. Through this evaluation and review, new policies can be implemented that change the way Florida seniors are cared for. With this information, nursing homes can develop better systems and procedures that would eliminate neglect and abuse from occurring.
If an elder death review team had been established, York Sprattling’s death would’ve been a prime case for further review and evaluation. His death was 100% preventable and lessons could’ve been learned that would improve the care for seniors across the state.
Contact Our Florida Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
If you believe that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or anywhere in the state of Florida, we can help. At Zimmet & Zimmet, our experienced Daytona Beach nursing home abuse lawyers will aggressively represent you and your family during this difficult time. We believe in holding negligent nursing homes and abusive caregivers responsible for their actions and the injuries they have caused. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and review of your case. Call 386-255-6400 or fill out our confidential contact form and someone will call you back!