Our West Palm Beach injury attorney was saddened to read about an investigation by The Miami Herald this week. The story revealed how the investigation has uncovered a tragic and frightening trend occurring in Florida and most likely in other states across the nation. The state has closed down many mental hospitals, forcing the patients housed there to be relocated. With other mental hospitals filled to capacity, the state has been forced to relocate many of the patients into assisted living facilities that were originally intended to house only the elderly. Additionally, more and more mentally ill patients have been put into smaller areas, with some neighborhoods becoming havens for patients suffering from all kinds of problems.
The combination of patients with widely varying illnesses with each other and with elderly patients who are sometimes not able to defend themselves has created an explosive situation. Cases of rape, assault, and murder have been reported. According to an article by NPR, these problems are greatly exacerbated by inattentive, negligent, and often even abusive staff who fail to provide the treatment and care that their patients require.
In one neighborhood in the city of Lauderhill, Florida, a police officer is fighting back against these terrible conditions, doing all that he can to make things better for the people who live there. This particular area is has so many issues that police respond to calls from that location an average of once every four hours. That's six calls a day just for one small area. The patients in this area are often violent, but in some cases, when police have arrived, they have found already bad situations that were made worse because the staff members who are being paid to keep patients safe were sleeping on the job or otherwise unaware of what was happening.
Officer Tom Merenda does what he can to treat the patients with dignity and respect and to keep them safe. Sadly, he often finds himself protecting them from harm in spite of, rather than along with, the staff. On one occasion, police came to the scene to find a mentally ill patient who had stabbed another patient. The man was covered with blood and incoherent, as he had been for hours, because the caregiver on duty had slept through the incident.
Do you have a friend or family member that may have experienced Palm Beach nursing home neglect? Whether your loved one is an elderly patient or a patient who suffers from some kind of mental affliction, the staff members charged with caring for him or her are responsible for maintaining a safe environment, as well as responding quickly in the event of a dangerous situation. If your loved one has suffered any kind of injury or harm while staying in an assisted living facility, give our Florida nursing home neglect attorney a call to discuss what your options are and where to go from here. Patients who have experienced Palm Beach nursing home abuse or neglect may be entitled to compensation, which can help pay for moving them to better homes where they will receive the care they need.
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