Police have arrested the person identified in the brutal assault of an 87-year-old woman. The attack was captured on a “granny cam” set up by the victim’s daughter.
The caregiver struck the terminally ill woman three times as she lay unable to move or speak. She would die 24 hours later. According to police, her death was not due to the beating.
The assault took place in the Harborage nursing home in North Bergen, New Jersey. The assailant has been charged with assault and has been fired from the nursing home.
According to police: “This woman lies in a bed, defenseless. She was unable to defend herself. There are reactions she makes with her face and her mouth and her eyes in response to the blows. It was difficult for me to watch. The video was shocking,”
As a personal injury attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse, I feel there are two important facts that should be emphasized.
First, the victim died only 24 hours after the assault took place. If her daughter had not placed the camera in the room when she did, this crime would have gone completely unreported and unpunished.
Second, the accused attacker took care of other patients. This victim was immobile – completely defenseless. Are we willing to believe that this was an isolated incident?
Medicare Nursing Home ratings assigned Harborage four out of a possible five stars. But looking beneath the surface reveals a different picture. While Harborage was given a five star assessment based upon health inspections, it received only one star for Nursing Home Staffing.
The nursing home staffing assessment is “from data that the nursing home reports to its state agency. It contains the nursing home staffing hours for a two-week period prior to the time of the state inspection. CMS receives this data and converts it into the number of staff hours per resident per day.”
To be given one star out of five, this nursing home was severely understaffed. That probably makes for a great balance sheet. But even if this attack had never happened, the nursing home is to blame for creating a situation where the staff was overworked and under-supervised.