Daily Archives: February 18, 2008

Who Will Be Responsible


What happened to Lucas Taylor’s daughter would be a nightmare for anyone. Making the decision to put you elderly loved one into a nursing home only to have them neglected and die. The family claimed that they put their dad Lucas into the nursing home named St. Elizabeth health care and rehabilitation center in order to spend more time with him. Then after an unstated amount of time his daughter went to visit her father and found that he was sitting in a pile of his own feces and had a decubitus ulcer or bed sore on his coccyx, which is a likely place. From the news pictures this ulcer which was over his coccyx looked to be at a stage 3 or 4. She then moved him to a new nursing home where he died five months later.

Now mind you I am totally in agreement that ultimately the nursing home IS to blame for this situation with Lucas Taylor. But, my problems with this situation are that it seems that as a whole people have lost that nurturing touch with family. We are so quick to throw our kids, parents and any other member of our family into a care type situation instead of even considering alternatives. I am not saying that this family did or didn’t look at alternatives or solutions to their family’s dilemma. I just find that in today’s times we are just too wrapped up in our own lives and too selfish to think about sacrificing anything for family.

Now with that said I have some history with this type of situation having worked in numerous hospitals and nursing homes I know that people park their parents in nursing homes and they wiped their hands in a good riddance as they burned rubber leaving the facility. It reminds me of the Simpson’s when Homer drives his dad Abe back to the “Home”. People don’t take the time to meet the caregivers find out anything about the facility. It is usually just does this place take Medicare/Medicaid and if the answer is yes then this is the place for mom or dad.

Now in the case with Lucas Taylor I can’t say that they did much research as this particular nursing home has been rated one of the 54 worst nursing homes in the country by the U.S. centers for Medicare/Medicaid services. They also have not been in compliance for what an agency spokesperson said was a long, long time. These little tidbits of information would be common knowledge for anyone doing the least bit of checking on the facility that you are going to trust one of your most loving treasures with. They could have checked the good the bad and the ugly on this facility just by going to health grades and paying a big old whopping 9.95 and probably some tax. So it isn’t as if information on nursing homes was top secret and you have to bribe a top official to get the low down.

As I watched this news 4 special I started to wonder exactly what responsibility to their father’s health care does this family thinks they had. They talk about the fact that the nursing home should be held accountable and that they should be made to pay etc. But if they were visiting often wouldn’t they have noticed that their father was deteriorating. I am certain that he didn’t go from lively to lifeless in a day or a week. I know that this story is supposed to pull at the heart strings which it does but for me I am more moved by Lucas and his tragedy rather than the crying of the family. It is obvious that they didn’t do what they intended when they put dad in a nursing home, which was so they can visit more often; so they said.

The daughter was crying and feeling horrible which is totally understandable yet if they had just gone in once a week and checked on dad they probably would have noticed that he was receiving this substandard care that they talk about. I hate talking about these kinds of cases as they make me feel so cold hearted as I talk about what could have been done. Yet then I think again if people weren’t in such a rush to be rid of good old dad or mom they wouldn’t be in the situation they are in today. This reminds me of the New Orleans nursing home owner and some nurses who was prosecuted but eventually acquitted of murder for leaving some of the patients in their beds where they drowned.

I know that on the surface this sounds horrible. But think of it this way. The facility called ALL the families and asked that they pick up their family member etc. Then the nurses eventually left the facility due to the approaching storm. I know a lot of you are saying that you would have stayed but come on, really. You have kids and family at home depending on you to help them as well and you are going to let them die because some families couldn’t be bother to pick up mom or dad before the storm. I am a nurse and I would have high tailed it out of that facility as fast as possible to get my kids to safety.

The families were waging a lawsuit and screaming that the facility owner and nurses were monsters that let their parents die. Telling the camera how much they loved their parents and that this was murder plain and simple. Yet where were they? Oh yeah, they were fleeing the storm without mom and dad. So I guess that their parents didn’t mean as much to them as they said since they couldn’t be bothered to take them along to safety. Yet they expect that some nurse is going to stay and leave his or her family, kids and loved ones to possibly die to stay with the parent that you couldn’t even be bothered to make arrangements for yourself. Please they should be on trial themselves then.

Now according to all the court papers the families were notified days in advance and the nurses stayed until the water was thigh high before they fled. I have respect for them staying that long. All I am saying is that if we as good family members cared more for our loved ones we would ensure that they get the best care that they can possibly receive. And a lot of the time that involves coming out of your comfort zone and keeping them at your home or maybe doing a tad bit of research to ensure that you aren’t relegating them to the Dr. Kevorkian home for the elderly. It is high time that we stop looking for someone else to take responsibility and start taking responsibility for our family, neighborhoods and country and everyone living in it.



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