Simon, Line Nine: How Nursing Homes Conceal Negligence

November 4, 2014

Recently, we featured some of Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA’s Meghan Connolly’s tips for selecting a nursing home.  Meghan stressed the importance of a personal inspection, noting that nursing homes present a rosy, “sales pitch” version of their operations to potential clients that may not accurately show what day-to-day living is like for residents.  Now, a real life example out of California demonstrates why you should take a closer look at any nursing home you are considering for yourself or a loved one.

The Negligence

In a California nursing home, a 94-year-old woman was killed in a nursing facility when she was struck by food cart being pushed by a nursing home employee.  The cart, which was nearly six feet tall and three feet wide, had no slats through which the employee could see the area in front of the cart.  Rather than assign a second employee to assist—or even to simply watch and call out if there were someone in the cart’s path—the nursing home employee barreled blindly down the halls.  In a setting where residents are already prone to falls and injuries, this is blatantly negligent.

After surgery for a broken hip, the nursing home failed to attend to the woman and she fell out of her bed.  She died five days later.

The Cover-Ups

As if the circumstances surrounding this innocent woman’s death were not already tragic and shocking, trial testimony from a nursing home employee exposed the coordinated deception nursing homes are willing to employ to hide their conduct.  According to the employee, when representatives from the Department of Health arrived for an inspection, an employee is to immediately announce a phone call over the intercom, “Simon, line nine.”

There is, however, no phone call.  There is no Simon, either.  “Simon, line nine” was the nursing home’s method of telling nursing home employees to hop into action, cover up any signs of negligence, and put on the façade of a well-run facility.

If a nursing home is willing to employ secret codes to fool state officials, it certainly will not have any reservations pulling the wool over the eyes of potential paying residents.  This is why you should keep your eyes open, look past the sales pitch, and trust your gut if a potential facility seems off.

If you or a loved one have suffered a nursing home injury, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA to discuss your case.

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