Mineola, NY- After a year-long investigation, New York Attorney General Eric Schniederman charged nine nursing home employees in connection to the 2012 death of a temporary resident of the Medford Multicare Center.
In 2012, Aurelia Rios, a retired dental technican became very ill with pneumonia, as part of her recovery, she was sent to the Medford Center for six weeks of treatment where she had to be hooked up to a ventilator. But something went wrong and Rios died in October, leaving behind her three children.
It may have seemed like at the time Rios died of natural causes; the Medford facility told her family she had a heart attack. That explanation was accepted until a whistleblower called the Attorney General’s office informing them Rios’ death was suspicious.
The whistleblower told AG Schneiderman that the night Rios died her ventilator was disconnected and staff at the facility ignored the machine’s warnings for over two hours. An investigation ensued and now at least nine staff members have been arrested and the Medford Center is facing civil lawsuits and charges of Medicaid fraud.
According to the Attorney General’s office, the Medford facility used $60 million in Medicaid funds to line their pockets while they neglected patient care. Since 2008, the AG said, the facility has been 5,000 incidents and accidents at the facility and on several occasions residents were injured because of neglect.
One of the nine Medford staff members who were arrested has been charged with negligent homicide and two others have been charged for neglecting patients. They have all been placed on administrative leave.
The Medford Center however denies the allegations and spokesman Andrew Moesel told local Fox affiliate, “We have an excellent track record of safety and protocols going above and beyond what the state requires.”
Prosecutors said they have video surveillance footage that will prove the facility neglected patients in their care.
Attorneys representing the charged individuals said the charges were untrue and trumped up.
Most people do extensive research before choosing a home for their loved one; they want to assure they will be safe and cared for. What happened to Rios is a family’s worst nightmare, but it can happen to anyone. When a family puts their loved one a long-term care facility, they expect their needs will be met and they won’t be subjected to abuse or neglect.
When a nursing home resident is injured because of abuse or neglect, the injured person is advised to report the facility to state officials. They can also consider contacting a nursing home abuse attorney to see if they can pursue that that facility for financial compensation.
A nursing home abuse attorney will listen to the details of a case and determine if the victim has solid grounds to seek compensation for a personal injury, wrongful death or neglect. Victims of abuse and neglect can ask facility to cover any medical bills they incur and compensate them for their emotional suffering.