By Joseph B. Landy
The events in the Hollywood Hills tragedy sent shockwaves across the country. Tragically, nursing home residents die each and every day due to neglect. Countless others suffer skin breakdown to the bone, infection, malnutrition, dehydration, over medication, falls, physical abuse and even sexual abuse due to a system that places value on income and an indifference to human life. The lesson of Hollywood Hills is that if your loved one is in a nursing home, you must remain an active participate in their care.
During the storm, power was cut to the facility. Generators in place were not set up to provide power to the air conditioning units. The lack of air conditioning caused the conditions in the facility to become stifling. Incredibly, no attempt was made to transfer the residents to the nearest hospital – a hospital which was located directly across the street from the nursing home. The facility claimed that it attempted to contact the governor’s office, yet never took a few seconds to dial emergency services. In the interim days, numerous residents due a horrific – and totally preventable – death.
In order to prevent another such tragedy, laws must be passed not only to govern the use of generators, but also to those who allowed such a tragedy to occur criminally liable for their actions. In addition, the employees who failed to act, clearly act utter disregard and indifference to human life. As a result, they should lose their license and be barred from caring for the elderly in the future.
For those that have a loved one in a nursing home, before a storm be certain that safety protocols are in place. Immediately after the storm, and as soon as it is safe to do so, check on the loved one. If there is not adequate conditions, attempt to remove them. If you cannot remove them, call emergency services. The lessons learned during this horrific tragedy should not be forgotten.