Uncovering examples of gross patient neglect, the Ohio Attorney General has indicted several employees of the Whetstone Gardens and Care Center for multiple crimes.  These charges include forgery, tampering with evidence, gross patient neglect and manslaughter.

The allegations of forgery including allegations that an employee forged documents such that

a medical record of [resident name not included] . . . purported to be genuine when it actually was spurious, or to be the act of another who did not authorize the act, or to have been executed at a time or place or with terms different from what was in fact the case.

The allegations include claims that records reflected that care was being provided to a resident when the resident was not in the facility.

The allegations of tampering with evidence state that a Whetstone employee “did, knowing that an official proceeding or investigation was in progress” presented records “knowing [them] to be false and with the purpose to mislead a public official.”   As with the allegations of forgery, these allegations suggest that one or more employees produced records reflecting treatment that was not provided.

The allegations of gross patient neglect and involuntary manslaughter suggest that an employee “as a continuing course of criminal conduct . . .did cause the death of [resident name not included] . . .”  These stunning allegations reveal the vulnerability of all elderly nursing residents who depend upon skilled nursing staff for all day-to-day functions.  For many nursing home residents, simple tasks that most of us take for granted –dressing, eating, showering, going to the bathroom–require the care and attention of nursing home staff.  Nursing home residents who experience poor care can suffer malnutrition, dehydration, skin breakdown and many other life-threatening conditions.

Victims of gross patient neglect often have civil remedies.  A resident or a resident’s sponsor (usually a family member) can bring a claim against a nursing home under Ohio Revised Code chapter 3721.13 — a statute sometimes referred to as Ohio’s Nursing Residents’ Bill of Rights.  Among other guarantees, the Bill of Rights provides that nursing home residents are entitled adequate and appropriate medical treatment and nursing care, as well as a safe and clean living environment.

Clark Perdue is currently investigating claims of gross patient neglect on behalf of families whose loved ones have been neglected or abused at the Whetstone Gardens and Care Center.