Nursing home defendants in court

Elderly residents of Ohio nursing homes are entitled to a reasonable standard of care. Deviations from this care is nursing home neglect and abuse which can cause serious injuries and even death. Criminal proceedings were held earlier this month against two of three defendants allegedly responsible for the death of a nursing home resident who froze to death in the facility's courtyard on Jan. 7.

The 76-year-old resident lived in a memory unit of a nursing home in Putnam County. She was found dead in the courtyard around 8:30 am. Her death was estimated to have occurred between 2:00 and 3:00 am.

Two of the defendants were nursing aids at the facility and were on-duty that morning. Along with a third defendant, a license practical nurse, they recorded bed checks occurring between 2:00 and 4:00 and that the resident was in her bed. The resident was in the courtyard in temperatures below zero during that time, according to an investigation report by the Ohio Department of Health.

During last week's pretrial, the prosecutor offered the 20 and 36-year-old defendants a plea deal where they would plead guilty to fifth-degree felony forgery and gross patient neglect, a first-degree misdemeanor. In return, the state will drop the more serious charges of third-degree felony involuntary manslaughter and second-degree misdemeanor patient neglect.

Thee defendants must accept or reject this plea offer by Aug. 22. The prosecutor said that most of the victim's family support this plea offer but some expressed concerns.

The final pretrial hearing for the third defendant, the licensed practical nurse, was continued until Sept. 13. She was charged with forgery, gross patient neglect and patient neglect for this fatality.

Nursing home neglect, in addition to criminal penalties, also constitute grounds for a civil lawsuit. An attorney can help assure that victims and their families hold nursing home legally accountable for negligence and abuse.

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