This story is flat-out disturbing, and started with a concern we have heard many times from the families of our nursing home abuse clients. It began with Phyllis Peters could not wake up her 97-year-old mother, who was residing in Kern Valley Nursing Home. When she complained to Gwen Hughes, the nursing home’s director, Hughes would “chemically restrain” the patient by giving her powerful anti-psychotic drugs to shut her up. Hughes did this to other residents in the nursing home, and three of them died.
In a report from the California Attorney General, Hughes ordered one patient drugged because she “glared” at her. Another was given high doses of an anti-psychotic drug for throwing a carton of milk. Several residents became severely malnourished, and were left in bed drooling and emaciated.
“In a couple cases, elderly people were actually held down, restrained against their will, and given excessive amounts of medicine to keep them quiet,” said AG Jerry Brown.
But here’s the stunner. Hughes had been fired from a previous nursing home for over-drugging there. When the previous employer was called as a reference for the job at Kern Valley, they failed to explain why Hughes was terminated out of fear of lawsuits (ironically, since now they will become a part of a huge lawsuit). As a result of the deaths, Hughes, administrator Pamela Ott, and physician Hoshang Pormir have been charged with criminal elder abuse, all facing up to 11 years in jail. Lawsuits by the surviving family members, and probably others, are certain to follow. The FDA estimates that unnecessary anti-psychotics kill 15,000 nursing home patients each year.
Source: ABC News
The Pasadena elder abuse and neglect lawyers at the Walton Law Firm represent seniors and dependent adults throughout California who have been abused or neglected in the nursing home and assisted living setting. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free and confidential consultation.