According to NJ.com, when police arrived at the Pine Acres Nursing Home in Madison around 4 a.m. Thursday morning, they found the aggressor, Richard Szabo, sitting in his wheelchair bloodied and naked. Szabo had just beaten a 92 year-old man with the leg rest of his wheelchair, causing him facial and head injuries.
Both men were taken to the hospital for evaluation and police decided Szabo was cognizant enough to be charged with assault. He was released and he is scheduled to appear in court on June 19, NJ.com reported.
Violent attacks like these are becoming all too common in nursing homes across the country. Recently there were two separate assaults in Texas nursing homes one of which resulted in a fatality,
Last month, a resident of a Houston nursing home attacked his roommate with a fitness weight after the two got into an argument. The victim was struck in the head and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
In April, a wheel-chair bound resident of Lexington Nursing and Rehabilitation home, also in Houston, brutally beat and killed two of his roommates. Police said the 56 year-old man slammed both men’s heads against the arm of his wheelchair until they died.
In all three of these incidents police were unable to determine the motives for such vicious attacks.
In the wake of these vicious attacks many are left to wonder: Where is the staff when this is going down? Is the nursing home liable if my loved one is harmed by another resident?
Residents of nursing homes have the right to be free of neglect and physical, verbal or sexual abuse. A physical attack from another resident is consider abuse and failing to prevent an attack is negligence on behalf of that home and their staff. A nursing home is obligated to protect their residents from suffering any injury whether it is the result of a fall, neglect, a medication error or a physical assault. So, yes, a nursing home, their parent company and their staff members are liable but an individual should consult with a nursing home abuse attorney to determine if they should seek compensation.
Some patients who suffer from mental illness or cognitive disorders can be aggressive and lash out in a violent manner. Nursing homes are aware of this and must take steps to correct the behavior in way that doesn’t involve restraints, chemical or otherwise. A facility must make certain a resident with violent tendencies are kept away from other residents.
When a facility has failed to prevent a resident from being abused or neglected, that resident and their loved ones should speak reputable nursing home abuse attorney. They will investigate the incident and determine which party or parties should take responsible for a resident’s death or injuries and what amount of compensation the abuse or neglect victim is entitled to.