A Georgia jury has awarded $43.5 million in damages related to the abuse and neglect of an 80-year-old man, Morris Ellison. Ellison was a resident of a nursing home where the ownership held title to a string of nursing facilities in and around the state of Georgia. Ellison eventually died in this nursing home.
Along with the neglect and possible abuse, Ellison was found to have been malnourished, dehydrated and lacking sufficient nursing and medical care, all of which was a contributing factor in hastening his death. But the background of this catastrophic case was that the nursing home owners had bilked Medicare and Medicaid out of tens of millions of dollars.
In this case, the nursing home’s individual owner and his wife ran three nursing facilities or long-term care facilities in Georgia. According to newspaper reports, this couple had a net worth of almost $100 million, relying almost exclusively on Medicaid and Medicare payments to operate their nursing home empire. According to the testimony in the case, one of the nursing home directors stated that the facilities were so lacking in funds that they were unable to pay for laundry, essential supplies and personnel wages for the nursing homes. The owners were systematically draining money out of the nursing homes, which resulted in a lack of food supplies, water, medicine, personnel and basic cleaning supplies.
It was claimed that this lack of care resulted in the wrongful death of Ellison, who had been a resident of the nursing home for a year. It was reported that he had fallen several times, was neglected, malnourished, severely dehydrated and broke his hip in one of those falls. The nursing home staff had not even contacted his family or primary care physician after the broken hip occurred. He died unnecessarily from that injury.
The Georgia jury awarded a record $43.5 million in damages against the nursing home company and its individual owners. The owners await a second trial in federal district court. This second trial centers on the allegation of Medicare fraud, which carries a stiff penalty and prison sentence. In this particular case, the siphoning off of Medicare/Medicaid funding led the nursing home facilities to put at peril the residents of these three nursing homes, including Ellison. This pattern of fraud is not unique. Other nursing home facilities around the United States and Illinois have been investigated for similar criminal activity and the outrageous results of neglecting the elderly and infirm residents of the nursing home facilities.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Evergreen Park, Oak Park, Crestwood, Melrose Park, Franklin Park, Schiller Park, Palos Park, Merrionette Park, Calumet Park, Hanover Park, Nile, Homewood, Chicago (Rogers Park, Roscoe Village, Chinatown, Greek Town, Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, Lakeview) and Bedford Park, Ill.
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