Nancy Young, 89, was a resident of Pleasant Acres Rehabilitation and Nursing Center when she died on December 15 last year. Now the care facility is being blamed in a wrongful death lawsuit that alleges Young was the victim not only of another resident’s negligent actions, but also of an improperly staffed nursing home.
According to the lawsuit, Young had been injured only one week before she passed away. The injuries occurred as the result of another resident’s carelessness. While leaving from a visit with this other resident, Young had the door slammed behind her. She fell, breaking her wrist and hip. No one witnessed the event, but these were the injuries that led to Young’s unfortunate death.
The York County Coroner’s Office described the death as a result from a combination of blunt force injury and age-related illnesses such as heart disease. As a result, the death was ruled a homicide and the Springettsbury Township Police Department investigated it as such.
Unfortunately the police decided that there was no reason to file criminal charges. It was a “terrible tragedy” according to the York County District Attorney’s Office, but could not be reasonably described as a criminal act.
The subsequent lawsuit, filed by daughter-in-law Barbara Young (the executor of the Young estate), alleges that Pleasant Acres had inadequate staffing to care for Nancy or the other residents, and that the conditions there led to Nancy’s premature death.
The law may be on her side.
Care facilities are regulated by very strict laws. Pennsylvania law mandates at least 2.7 hours of care be provided to each resident for every 24-hour period that elapses. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Pleasant Acres facility had only been providing an average of 2.44 hours of care for each resident when they visited on October 26, 2018 — less than two months before Nancy Young’s death.
The state asked them to correct the issue, but they had failed to do so before another visit in November, even after enacting plans to correct the issue.
According to the lawsuit: “In their efforts to maximize revenues/profits, Defendants negligently, intentionally, and/or recklessly reduced staffing levels below the level necessary to provide adequate care to residents, which demonstrated a failure to comply with the applicable regulations and standards for nursing home facilities.”
Now the burden is on the home to prove that the issues were indeed corrected by the time Nancy incurred her injuries.