IDPH has cited and fined Bria of River Oaks nursing home in Burnham after a resident there suffered a ruptured globe to his left eye after being struck with a broom by a staff member.
The resident at issue suffered from mental illness characterized by episodes of delusions which leads to agitation and anxiety. On the day of the incident, the resident was acting out in his room. The aide assigned to the resident got another staff member to help remove chairs from the resident’s room. In response the resident picked up a chair and threw it at the staff. An aide then swung a broom at the resident, hitting him in the eye. He was brought to the emergency room where he was diagnosed as having a ruptured globe in the left eye. The resident was then transferred to a higher level hospital for definitive care.
It goes without saying that there is no good reason for a staff member to swing a broom at a resident. When confronted with aggression by a resident, the right response is to de-escalate the situation or to get help from other staff, especially the nursing and social work staff who have more advanced skills for addressing this kind of problem.
Having a loved one be the victim of physical aggression by a staff member is one of the common fears that every family member of a nursing home resident has. Because this kind of nursing home abuse was at one time so prevalent, the General Assembly included a provision in the Nursing Home Care Act that makes nursing homes liable for both the intentional and negligent acts of their employees.
Oddly, in most kinds of personal injury lawsuits, one of the defenses that an employer can and does make when an employee commits an intentional act against some one else is that the employee was acting outside the scope of his employment – after all, no one hires an employee to deliberately hurt someone else. And surprisingly, this can be a real defense for employers. Not so with nursing homes.
However, one thing that a lawyer prosecuting a personal injury suit arising from this incident would have to keep in mind is that insurance coverage is not normally available for intentional acts. However, a smart lawyer would also include a claim that the nursing home was negligent in failing to properly train the aide on de-escalating the situation and generally how to address these kinds of situations which certainly can occur with the kind of mental illness that this resident suffered from.
However, failing to properly train employees is one of the hallmarks of how for-profit nursing homes are managed as part of the nursing home business model. One of our core beliefs is that nursing homes are built to fail due to the business model they follow and that unnecessary accidental injuries and wrongful deaths of nursing home residents are the inevitable result. Order our FREE report, Built to Fail, to learn more about why. Our experienced Chicago nursing home lawyers are ready to help you understand what happened, why, and what your rights are. Contact us to get the help you need.
Other blog posts of interest: