I was one of those families that filed too many complaints with the agency set up to deal with the oversight of nursing homes and that same agency set up to receive complaints from family members. After filing 11 complaints with the Department of Health and the Dept. of Health telling me they did not find any deficiencies at Creekside, the nursing home went exparte in front of a judge and got a restraining order against my family.....but really it was against my mother because even the bishop of her church was told he could not visit without one hour notice and he was restricted to 1 hour visit but he would have to check with the family first to make sure none of us had visited with her that day. So if mother's grandchildren wanted to see her and she had 8 grandchildren close enough to visit they would each get less than 15 minutes a visit.
We could have taken the nursing home to court and gotten a reversal but it would have taken us months to get our case in front the judge where it took the nursing home less than a week to get the restraining order passed and during that time the restraining order would have remained in place. How fair and JUST is that? Since we knew back then over 15 years ago that ALL the Dept. of Health Services in the states were corrupt and just recently Senator Charles Grassley and Representative Henry Waxman stated the nursing home oversight system is corrupt from the top down, meaning the Center for Medicare Services and the different state oversight systems and there have been many Congressional Hearings stating these so called professionals that do the oversight are missing much of the most glaring deficient care during their inspections. So why after 15 years passing and they remain failures do we keep paying them?
After DHS said no problems found I took my complaints to the Solano Country Grand Jury who not only verified all of my complaints but found a half dozen others I had not mentioned. They were going to turn their findings over to the District Attorney and ask for Prosecution when the County Attorney Mr. Gordoniare told them they were a County Grand Jury and Nursing Homes were under the purview of the state, not the Counties. He instructed the Grand Jury to hand over their findings to the Dept. Of Health and 2 of my complaints were against the Dept. of Health and California does not have a State Grand Jury because our legislators refused to fund them after the State Grand Jury had investigated several of them for corruption. The County Grand Jury did not have a choice so they delivered there findings to the Dept. of Health who then reopened my complaints and cited and/or fined the nursing home for not meeting care laws. THE FINES WERE NEVER COLLECTED and when I checked, California had over $2 million dollars in outstanding fines and only $19,000 had been collected. Some great system huh..
While visiting my mother a patient told me a story about the wrongful death of her roommate so I waited two week to give time for her death certificate to get filed then went to the county clerk and asked if I could buy a copy of that death certificate. The clerk said I could buy all of them if I had the money, then she asked for the date of death of the person and I could only give the approx. date so the clerk said she did not have time to search all the deaths but I could if I wanted too and she handed me all the deaths for the month of January. When I flipped through those death certificates I notice names of people I knew died in the nursing home and I started to read them. I was horrified to see the causes of death from starvation, fecal impaction,. medication errors, dehydration, Urinary Tract Infections bedsores and falls, so I bought several of them, then started going to other counties to buy other death certificates to see if the same thing was happening in other cities.
You could see a definite pattern of the lack of care by the causes of deaths and I wanted to know if I went to those facilities would I be able to identify the problem. Sure enough, those deaths from dehydration I found the facilities were failing to even furnish a water pitcher not alone offer the patients a drink. Medication error deaths I found Medication carts left unattended in the hall ways of the nursing homes and several times I took pills away from patients that had simply picked them up off the carts. When a facility had a high death rate from bedsores I would find most of the patients drugged out of their heads and in their beds during daytime hours. Starvations I found lack of staff to fed the feeders and what they were serving I wouldn't feed to my dog. Hot dogs on a plain hard bun, baloney sandwiches with just bread and baloney, no butter or anything else In facilities where death from UTI's were high I'd find those nursing home smelled heavy of urine and catheter bags laying on the floor and full bags not being dumped.
Since I went to all 58 counties in California and the expense to buy the certificates was so high I contacted a large attorney firm and they ordered a fish machine and the death records from all 58 counties for a 3 year period of time. I sat for weeks going through the death certificates and pulling the wrongful deaths. I found hundreds of thousands of them but the attorneys wanted clear cut wrongful deaths so we went to the professionals with the list of causes we had found and they narrowed it down to 5 causes without any contributing factors: Dehydration, Fecal Impaction, Starvation, UTI's and Bedsores and we still ended up with over 26,000 deaths.
I took those back to Congress to the Senate Aging Committee who assigned their own team to check out my data then released their report that 1/3 of our nursing homes were killing the patients. within two years Senator Jackie Spier passed a law we could no longer look at death certificates. Jackie Spier had taken thousands of dollars in contributions from the nursing home industry.
California response to the problem was to set up a death certificate review board and guess what: SINCE THEY HAVE BEEN GOING OVER THE DEATH CERTIFICATES THEY HAVE NOT FOUND 1 WRONGFUL DEATH, amazing isn't it?
It only gets worse and I could write for days on the corruption, the killing, the horrible care and the suffering. The greed, the lack of oversight and the protective laws passed by this ever-so-corrupt government. I have worked with way too many families and had them write down their sad tales of the wrongful death that took their loved one from them and dear old Mr. Bush, one of his first pushes in office was to relax the requirements for the nursing homes. Every elected talks about the need to protect this business, yeah like these big young strong administrators and the owners really need the protection much more than a 90 year old frail mother or father don't they?
You used FRUSTRATED as the word to describe me, I use the words TOTALLY FED UP WITH THE CORRUPTION, THE LACK OF HUMANITY, THE LACK OF ANYTHING CLOSE TO A MORAL CODE OF CONDUCT and last but not least DECENCY.
No one to my knowledge has found a fountain of youth. No one has found a cure for aging and statistic's tell us 50% of us will end up in one of these warehouses and Chatty I can guarantee it will be you, NOT ME because I will take required steps before ever entering one of these houses of horrors. A poll completed last year, 95% voted for death rather than nursing home care. So if you believe I am doing a dis-service to the public by frightening them with this story, I feel instead I am giving them the facts and if the industry doesn't like those facts then they have to CHANGE THEM, I am giving fair warning before anyone ever considers putting a loved one in one of these places or going through the doors themselves as a patient.
The above story should get the public off their couches, should move them to demand non profit nursing homes, demand the failures we pay wages to via our tax dollars the corrupt, failed oversight system ALL SHOULD BE FIRED AND A SYSTEM THAT WORKS SHOULD REPLACE THEM. These facts should cause the public to move for legislation to hold the owners and CEO's to the same standard of law we have to live by. Should cause the public to demand the practice of our representatives selling themselves to this industry for the money be a criminal offense.Should make it a crime when the workers at these places see the neglect and the abuse but refuse to report it because of their jobs and that especially goes to the doctors. I understand why they keep silent but I don't know how the justify their actions with their conscience.
Have you been watching the hoopla in DC about the FBI's raid at the Congressional Offices? Oh how angry that made these elected jerks but did you notice any outrage or uproar when they voted in the right of search and seizure on us taxpayers without the need of a judges order? I feel the same anger when these Congressional JERKS pass one law after another to protect this industry without any protection for the elderly. HOW DARE THEY INSULT US BY COLLECTING THEIR PAY FROM US TAXPAYERS WHEN THEY WORK ONLY FOR THE MONEY VENDORS..