Our Atlanta nursing home abuse lawyers recently read about another horrific case of elder abuse in our state. The case at Alzheimer's Care of Commerce in Jackson County may include homicide charges, and so far the owner and 20 other employees have been charged with various offenses, according to news reports.
Between the 21 people involved, including Care of Commerce's owner Donna Wright, there are charges of more than 70 offenses involving physical cruelty, neglect, and financial exploitation of the elderly residents. They are accused of violating the Georgia Protection of Disabled Adults and Elder Persons Act. There was also an alleged violation of a state law saying convicted felons can't work at health care facilities €“ Care of Commerce apparently employed a man on parole for voluntary manslaughter, as well as others convicted of felony drug offenses and identity theft.
There were reports of employees hitting patients and throwing water on them. One alleged incident involved an employee punching a resident suffering from dementia in the face in order to force him to sit down. Other abuse alleged included tying residents up with bed sheets and putting them in two diapers at once to have to change them less often. The authorities were tipped off to this abuse by an employee who complained about this horrific treatment. On July 2, after an ongoing investigation, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation raided Care of Commerce. The GBI found three residents had been so mistreated they had to be hospitalized.
The homicide charges relate to three residents whose deaths were listed by Care of Commerce as due to strokes, but the authorities suspect that their deaths were actually due to overdoses of medications. All of them were residents at Care of Commerce and all died in the last two months before the raid. One employee told the GBI that "meds were given out to keep residents asleep so employees wouldn't have to deal with them.Due to these allegations, the GBI executed search warrants for the medical records of these residents, one of which was a 71 year old man from Athens. The search took place at Athens Regional Medical Center, an assisted living facility, and a private doctor's office.
However, Ms. Wright, the owner, is claiming she never authorized abuse of any of the residents at Care of Commerce. Her lawyer also claims there is not enough evidence to say she failed to report abuse or neglect, and asserted she can't be held accountable for the "independent actions of others.
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