Virginia Nursing Home Lawyer | Neglect Abuse Complaint Attorney

In November of last year a Southside Virginia group home operator was convicted and sentenced for criminal abuse and neglect for failing to obtain sufficient medical care for an injured group home resident.

The Court of Appeals in Virginia, has just upheld the court’s conviction.

Often we will receive calls from family members whose loved ones have clearly been abused or neglected in nursing homes and other group homes. We sometimes file civil suits alleging the negligence of the company and their employees caused death and permanent injury to the patients. Sometimes, the facilities will admit fault while most often they deny any wrongdoing.

The prosecution and conviction of the group home operator in Martinsville may be the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia. When families ask me if there are criminal charges that can be filed related to their loved ones abuse, I encourage them to call the local Commonwealth Attorney, but in ten years I know of only 1 case (other than this one) where charges were filed, and no conviction.

What do you think about holding care providers responsible in criminal court?

Is over medicating a patient criminal? Should it be? Is allowing a dementia patient to escape a facility and freeze to death criminal? Should it be? Is dropping a vulnerable patient from a lift assault, or battery, and therefore criminal?

I will let you make your own decision as to whether more of these matters should be pursued in criminal court. Actually, I will leave that up to our prosecutors. In the meanwhile, I am still heartbroken for the families who must resort to any kind of legal action in pursuit of answers, justice, and information.



Did you know that more than 1 out of every 5 (22%) Medicare beneficiaries experience lasting harm from their stay in a nursing home?

Did you know that nearly two-thirds (59%) of the above “adverse events” were deemed preventable by physicians who reviewed the circumstances which lead to the residents’ harm?

Did you know that over one-third (37%) of the “adverse events” were related to the medications given to the residents?

Did you know that another one-third (37%) of the “adverse events” were related to ongoing care such as resident falls, exacerbation of preexisting conditions, fluid and electrolyte disorders, etc.?

Did you know that just over one-fourth (26%) of “adverse events” were related to infections like aspiration pneumonia, urinary tract infections, etc.?

Finally, and the BIG ONE, did you know that 14% of those ”adverse events” required life-sustaining interventions and 6% contributed to death?

Don’t believe me?  These are not my conclusions but the conclusions reached by the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG).  Follow this link to access the report and read it for yourself.

My Take:  It is embarrassing that, in the greatest country in the world, we cannot do a better job of caring for our elderly.  They deserve better!


Nursing homes are interesting places.

They (by law and definition) have health care available 24 hours a day, and yet, sometimes it is not enough.

Sometimes, nursing home residents get sicker and need immediate emergency help from a hospital.

I have had more than one (probably 20) families tell me that when they expressed concern about their loved one needing to go from the nursing home to the hospital, they were told by some nursing home employee, the employee was not allowed to call 911 without the doctor’s permission… And even then, families are sometimes left feeling like they are not permitted to call 911 themselves. That some how, calling 911 will either (a) violate facility policy or (b) be something the family has to pay for – and won’t be covered by Medicare / Medicaid / Insurance etc.

I can’t give medical advice. I am not a health care provider.

I can however give general advice. and here it is - if you are worried your loved one needs help, and the nursing home isn’t moving fast enough, or the doctor responding – CALL 911 and get your loved one to the hospital.

Don’t wait.

Don’t ask permission.

Call – and call sooner rather than later.

Who cares about facility policy.

Who cares about making the nurse mad.

You know your loved one better than they do – you know when they are sick, sicker, when something is wrong and they need help. You have a cell phone – use it.

Please, go with your gut and call 911. Better to be safe than sorry.


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