Reports of nursing home abuse hit the news daily, and even for those with extremely strong stomachs, each story is heart breaking. Seeing the elderly calling for help and getting ignored, being struck or shoved by staff members, and writhing in pain from medical neglect can make anyone a passionate advocate for nursing home reform.
Why Families Resort to Hidden Cameras
It’s notoriously difficult to prove nursing home abuse and neglect, since many patients are either too afraid to tell loved ones what’s going on or aren’t able to communicate their struggles. As a result, many families have started relying on hidden cameras for proof of abuse or neglect.
Consider the events of October 2017 at United Medical Center. Early in the morning, patient Warren Webb called for help, telling nurses that he couldn’t breathe. A nurse started adjusting the height of his bed but got distracted when the patient’s roommate asked her to do more to help. In the midst of the arguing, Webb fell off of the bed and onto the floor, where he stayed for 20 minutes. In the meantime, the nurse continued arguing with his roommate and talking with a security guard. When Webb was finally lifted back onto his bed, nursing staff could not find a pulse and Webb was declared dead.
What happened next is equally disturbing. Officials at United Medical Center fired the nurse involved, but did not report the case to regulatory agencies, essentially shielding the nurse and the facility from further investigation.
The Legality of Hidden Cameras in Washington D.C.
While hidden cameras are an effective way to catch abusive or neglectful caretakers in the act, the legality of these cameras is fuzzy in some areas. Washington D.C. is one of the country’s few municipalities with laws explicitly allowing cameras in nursing home rooms. Patients must be aware of the cameras, however, since there is an expectation of privacy in a nursing home room. Additional considerations may be necessary in nursing homes with dual-occupancy rooms.
Using Camera Footage to Protect Your Loved Ones
It’s important to consult with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney before setting up a camera in your loved one’s room so that you stay within the limits of the law. In some cases, cameras that capture video are allowed, but those that also record sound are illegal. If you’re at the point of installing a hidden camera, you likely already have good reason to suspect abuse or neglect. Don’t damage your case by recording footage that may be inadmissible in court. An attorney can use video footage and other evidence to build a strong case against the nursing home, caregivers, and other responsible parties.
Keep Your Loved Ones Safe From Nursing Home Abuse
It’s important to advocate for those who aren’t in a position to advocate for themselves. If your loved one has been victimized by a neglectful or abusive caretaker, give them a chance at justice and compensation. Call The McDaniel Law Group, PLLC at (202) 875-8361.
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