For the first time in history a nursing home corporation has been arraigned on manslaughter charges. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says Tennessee-based Life Care Centers of America is charged with manslaughter, abuse and neglect in the 2004 death of a woman who lived in their Acton facility.
Most states have laws that make it a crime to abuse and neglect the elderly. In Virginia, most Commonwealth Attorneys will not prosecute these cases as they believe a civil action for money damages is sufficient to punish the wrong doers. Unfortunately, the nursing home industry sees paying damages for abuse and neglect of their residents as just a “cost of business” and rarely change their mode of operation. Maybe a few criminal prosecutions in Virginia would get their attention!