Serving Justice

Inadequate Texas Nursing Home Regulations Result in Violent Offenders Caring for Elderly

September 25, 2019Elder Abuse And Neglect

The elderly, vulnerable residents of Texas nursing homes continue to suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of their caretakers.

Recent reports raise heavy concerns throughout the entire state about nursing home standards and regulations. According to research from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Texas nursing home patient abuse rate nearly quadruples the national average. These statistics represent individual, heartbreaking stories of the elderly and their family members who suffer at the hands of violent offenders.

Recent investigative reporting has revealed that numerous, violent criminals are working as certified nursing aides (CNAs) in Texas nursing homes, which is often completely legal in Texas

Victims Of Assault And Abuse Speak Out

Mary Harris, a previous resident of The Rehabilitation & Wellness Centre of Dallas on Live Oak Street in Dallas, experienced the devastating outcome of lax standards firsthand. “He took advantage of me, no doubt about it,” Harris said. At the time of the attack, Harris said her caregiver said it was time to get her ready for her bath. Instead, he sexually assaulted her.

Soon after the attack, Mary, a 66-year-old woman, was transported to Parkland Hospital, where she tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease (“STD”). Her doctors confirmed that “it is undeniable that Ms. Harris was infected while she was under the care of the facility.”

Mary’s family filed a civil suit against the nursing home. If Mary’s allegations prove to be true, according to the nursing home, “nurse assistant Rodney Jolly Shead is responsible.” Shead was never charged with a crime in connection with the incident. But the 32-year-old confessed he no longer works for the nursing home.

Chandler McCaughan also knows the potential devastation of entrusting your loved one to a Texas nursing home. At the Windsor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Duval near Austin, CNA Carlos Santacruz was supposedly caring for McCaughan’s mother. Santacruz allegedly posted pictures online of him tickling the 83-year-old’s face while she slept, which prompted her to smear feces on herself. Santacruz was charged with injury to the elderly and fired.

“I was horrified, absolutely furious. This is my mother,” McCaughan said. “She’s someone’s sister, someone’s aunt.”

Both incidents have a common element – in both instances, both nurse aides had a previous criminal record. Santacruz was arrested in the past for fraud and drug possession, and Shead purportedly has two prior counts of assault with bodily injury. Despite these records, both were nevertheless hired by the nursing homes.

Many wonder, “how can this happen?” Well, it’s because in Texas, it’s not illegal to hire criminals to care for the elderly.

Time To Change Texas Law To Close This Dangerous Loophole

Amazingly, Texas permits nursing homes to hire aides with criminal histories. Loopholes in Texas regulations allow criminal defendants to plead guilty to serious or violent crimes and still become certified as a Nurse Aid and work in a nursing home or assisted living center.

Recent investigations identified nearly 200 Nurse Aides in North Texas alone with serious or violent criminal pasts including sexual assault of a child, injury to the elderly, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and even robbery. Despite these alarming histories, under Texas law, all of them remain certified and eligible to work as a CNA in the State of Texas.

Houston Elder Abuse & Neglect Attorneys

If you or a loved one has suffered from neglect or abuse at a nursing home or assisted living center, call our elder abuse attorneys for a free consultation today. The Texas nursing home and elder abuse attorneys at Ramsey Law Group pursue cases against nursing homes, group homes, and assisted living centers throughout the state of Texas. Contact us today, and we will investigate your potential case and advise you accordingly based on your situation.