Nursing home owner faces criminal charges for patient injury

Harry Truman was quoted as saying, “The buck stops here.” We assume he meant that he would take responsibility for anything that happened during his presidency. Apparently the Baltimore police department believes in that motto as well and has charged the owner of an assisted living facility with reckless endangerment and abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult.

The charges stem from an accident in which an 84-year-old woman fell through some flooring and landed one floor below. The facility owner does not deny her fall or her injuries that resulted from the fall. He may however choose to plead not guilty to his criminal charges.

The details in the news report are sketchy. Apparently there was building construction and renovation taking place. The 84-year-old woman stepped between two floor joists in a room being renovated, and fell to the first floor below. She suffered broken bones and a head injury.

Her treatment was initially at the Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown; however she was recently transferred to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma unit in Baltimore. The 84-year-old’s current condition was not reported.

Although the woman’s injuries are not being debated, the owner’s guilt can certainly be debated and he is of course innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

There are numerous questions which could affect his case. Was the woman prone to wandering, yet the staff was not informed of this fact? Did the construction company fail to secure the area as required? Was the space between the floor joists deemed safe prior to the accident, or was it a known issue?

In this particular case, the owner of the elder care facility could be facing civil personal injury litigation as well as the criminal charges.

Source: WUSA9, “1-Story Fall Brings Charges At Md. Care Center,” Aug. 13, 2012

At our Baltimore law firm we represent clients charged with a wide range of felonies or misdemeanors including criminal charges of reckless endangerment as described in this post.

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