Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Indictment

Georgia Nursing Home Abuse Case

Personal injury attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, is based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, near the Gwinnett County courthouse. He handles personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. This post involves recent news as reported in the AJC regarding an indictment of three staff members of a DeKalb County, Georgia, nursing home. As the baby boomer generation ages, nursing home abuse will unfortunately likely become more prevalent in the news.

Richard Armond was an experienced prosecutor who handled elder abuse prosecutions before leaving the Gwinnett District Attorney's Office to start his own firm. He uses that knowledge to protect the rights of elder persons and their families in the event a nursing home abuse lawsuit needs to be considered.

A brief summary of the news report on the incident

Three nursing home employees were indicted in DeKalb County, Georgia earlier this week according to the AJC. One of the employees was charged with felony murder and neglect of an elder person. The other two employees were charged with offenses relating to neglect of an elder person. It must be stressed at this time that those charged have a presumption of innocence. The victim was an 89 year-old World War II veteran who, according to the report, was captured on surveillance video in respiratory distress and calling for help. This case has been in the news previously for the wrongful death civil lawsuit aspect of the incident. 

Georgia criminal law on protection of elder persons

Georgia law has two main code sections dealing with crimes involving neglect and exploitation of elder persons. Both code sections outlined here involve criminal punishments of one (1) up to twenty (20) years in prison. 

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-5-101. Neglect to a disabled adult, elder person, or resident. Subsection (a) of this code section states:  "[a] guardian or other person supervising the welfare of or having immediate charge, control, or custody of a disabled adult, elder person, or resident commits the offense of neglect to a disabled adult, elder person, or resident when the person willfully deprives a disabled adult, elder person, or resident of health care, shelter, or necessary sustenance to the extent that the health or well-being of such person is jeopardized."

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-101 is what appears to be the underlying basis for all of the charges in the indictment. It criminalizes (a) willful (b) deprivation (c) of an elder person (or disabled adult or resident) (d) of health care or shelter or sustenance (e) to the extent health or well-being is jeopardized. It appears from the story that the allegation involves willful deprivation of health care to the 89 year-old World War II veteran. The essence of this statute is deprivation.

  • O.C.G.A. § 16-5-102. Exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults, elder persons, and residents; obstruction of investigation. This statute primarily addresses knowing and willful bad acts done towards elder persons (and disabled adults and residents), though it also criminalizes deprivation of essential services (and also has subsections addressing threats, intimidation, and obstruction). Subsection (a) of this code section states: "Any person who knowingly and willfully exploits a disabled adult, elder person, or resident, willfully inflicts physical pain, physical injury, sexual abuse, mental anguish, or unreasonable confinement upon a disabled adult, elder person, or resident, or willfully deprives of essential services a disabled adult, elder person, or resident shall be guilty of a felony. . ."  

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-102 is often used by prosecutors when a person financially exploits an elder person or when a person does some bad act such as a physical or sexual assault on an elder person. 

Both of these code sections have additional provisions including exceptions to liability, but the intent here is to provide a brief summary and comparison of the two statutes.

The felony murder aspect of the indictment

Georgia law at O.C.G.A. § 16-5-1 involves the crime of murder. "Malice murder" involves either an express deliberate intention to take a life or it can be implied when there is no provocation and circumstances show an abandoned and malignant heart. Again, this post is a brief summary on the law relating to the AJC news story. Malice murder is not the type of murder that will be at issue in this particular nursing home incident. 

Also in O.C.G.A. § 16-5-1 is the crime of "felony murder." Felony murder is basically where a person, while in the commission of a felony, causes the death of another person. This appears to be the basis of the nursing home neglect indictment in DeKalb County, Georgia. Essentially, the argument by prosecutors will be that while committing the felony crime of neglect of an elder person the alleged perpetrator caused the death of the World War II veteran. 

This Georgia case in DeKalb County while likely continue to receive media coverage for both the civil lawsuit and the criminal prosecution. Georgia nursing homes should be places of care and not abuse. Our elderly loved ones should live their last days with grace and dignity. 

If you or a loved one have been injured or lost because of neglect or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility in metro Atlanta or anywhere in the State of Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based nursing home abuse lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

Study shows Georgia nursing home health violations

A recent article in the Gwinnett Daily Post detailed the findings of a national study of health code violations in nursing homes. According to the story, the study was conducted by Kaiser Health News and it found that nationally 74% of nursing homes have been cited for infection control lapses. Fortunately, that number is only 43% for nursing homes in the State of Georgia. One concern from the story for nursing home residents is that while nursing home patients are more vulnerable to infection than other patients, the staffing models are geared toward traditional long-term care and not necessarily the elderly.

Infections in nursing homes can have devastating effects on patients. Though the Georgia rate for violations is below the national average, the number is still just under half of nursing homes with these issues. If a patients suffers from an infection in a Georgia nursing home, the facility may be liable. Nursing homes have a duty to maintain the proper standard of care, which would include complying with the Georgia Department of Community Health's standards. A Georgia personal injury attorney can investigate to determine if a claim or lawsuit is viable. 

If you or a loved one have suffered an infection or injury in a Georgia nursing home in metro Atlanta or anywhere in Georgia, please contact Gwinnett County based injury lawyer Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.

What is a Mattie's Call?

What is a Mattie's Call? A Mattie's Call is an emergency missing alert used in Georgia specifically for disabled and elder persons. It is basically one of the emergency alerts with the tone that sounds on your cell phone, television, or the radio to let the public know of a missing disabled or elder person.

How does this beneficial tool used by local law enforcement agencies in Georgia relate to personal injury and wrongful death law? Many times disabled and elder persons reside in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Some of the major purposes behind paying for assisted living facilities or nursing homes for loved ones in Georgia are ensuring safety and security. When a loved one is disabled, has Alzheimer's or dementia, or some other condition in which you cannot sufficiently care for your loved one, these facilities fill that need.

However, while we expect safety, security, and care for our loved ones, all too often we hear of elder persons or disabled persons who wander off from these facilities. This is sometimes referred to as "elopement." Sometimes these cases of elopement have tragic results when a person who cannot care for herself wanders from a nursing home and does not receive the care she needs. Mattie's Calls are used in Georgia to help find the missing disabled or elder person with the hope that serious injury or death can be avoided. 

Under the law, if the disabled or elder person's elopement is due to the negligence of the nursing home facility, the person or their loved ones may have a claim. These facilities typically have a duty to ensure that cases of elopement or wandering do not happen.

If one of your loved ones was injured as a result of wandering or elopement from a nursing home type facility in Georgia, please contact attorney Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation. 

Click here to read the Georgia Bureau of Investigation summary of a Mattie's Call. 

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. He is licensed to practice law by the State Bar of Georgia and is based in Lawrenceville, one mile down the road from the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center. Call him today for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585. The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.