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Employees Face Criminal Charges for Nursing Home Abuse

Two employees of a Chicago-area nursing home are facing criminal charges after a 96-year-old woman froze to death inside of a van on a cold Chicago night. Prosecutors contend that the woman was being transported to a nearby hospital for medical attention but never made it home. The driver of the bus parked the van without checking to see if the woman was still in the back. She was left there overnight and discovered the next morning after having frozen to death. Afterward, the bus driver made a fake entry into a logbook that the woman was returned to her facility on time. 

Other employees are also facing charges related to their failure to account for the woman over the course of an entire night. According to the complaint, the facility’s resident care manager was notified that the woman was not accounted for, but allegedly made no effort to find her. The next morning, staff began conducting a search for her and she was found still on the bus.

Two are facing charges related to the woman’s death, the driver of the bus who forgot the woman, and the resident care manager who failed to conduct a search until the next morning. Both are charged with criminal neglect of a long-term resident resulting in death, while the resident care manager is facing an additional lesser charge.

A Look at the Law

720 ILCS 5/12-4.4a defines what constitutes criminal neglect of a resident at a long-term care facility. Here, the language of the law relevant to this case can be found here:

         fails to perform acts that he or she knows or reasonably should know are necessary to maintain or preserve the life or health of a resident, and that failure causes the resident’s life to be endangered, health to be injured, or pre-existing physical or mental condition to deteriorate, or that create the substantial likelihood that an elderly person’s or person with a disability’s life will be endangered, health will be injured, or pre-existing physical or mental condition will deteriorate; 

Essentially, both are accused of negligent homicide for failing to render even the most basic standard of care. While the case against the driver appears solid, not only did they leave the woman on the bus, but they then falsified a report to cover up the negligence, the case against the resident care manager is not as strong. While the manager has been charged for failing to respond immediately to the woman’s death, an argument could be made that the hospital kept her overnight and simply failed to report her admission. However, by the next morning, the staff would have realized something was wrong. So an argument can be made in defense of the staff supervisor that could not be made on behalf of the bus driver. For more information on negligent or non-murder homicides, click the link.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

David Freidberg represents the rights of those facing charges filed by local, state, or federal authorities. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 and discuss the matter with an experienced nearby attorney.

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