Most of us harbor fears about growing old and spending our final days in a nursing home. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to die at home and in one’s sleep. In this post we look at the tragic death of an 89-year-old World War II hero which occurred in a Georgia nursing home. James Dempsey’s death was captured on a hidden camera. The rare video footage sheds light on how some gives nursing home operators put profits before their patients.
Most elder abuse horror stories never make the news. This one made the news only because of a hidden camera and the subsequent fight of a local TV station to have the sealed video released. In showing the video, we hope that some good can come from Mr. Dempsey’s death. We warn you what you are about to read and see is very disturbing.
To understand this story, one must know some basic facts about the video. James Dempsey was a resident at the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center. The recording shows Dempsey calling for help six times before he finally lapses into unconsciousness and dies.
Dempsey couldn’t breathe. If there was nothing more to the story, James’ death would be heartbreaking. The video, however, also showed two nurses in the room. Neither made any real efforts to save him, help him or even comfort him. Instead they laughed as Dempsey was dying.
After Dempsey died, the family filed suit. One of the nurses questioned, a supervisor, appears to lie during her deposition and claims that she “rushed in” and “took over” CPR. That is not what the hidden camera showed, however. Instead, it showed no one doing CPR including the two laughing nurses who were in the room when Dempsey stopped breathing. When confronted with her lie, the supervisor claimed she simply made a mistake.
The nursing home settled the lawsuit but the story doesn’t end here. Most nursing home cases settle confidentially. The judge orders the settlement be kept private. That means that we can’t discuss the settlement nor can the victim or victim’s family. Unfortunately, that also means that the public rarely finds out what happened. Future residents of nursing homes and their families have no idea what goes on behind the nursing home doors.
This case followed the typical pattern. The case settled and no one can discuss the terms of the settlement. Happily, a local TV station got wind that there was secret video tape footage of the Dempsey’s horrific death. TV station 11 Alive convinced a DeKalb County judge to unseal the video.
Lawyers for the nursing home were so worried at the tape being made public that they appealed the court’s decision all the way to the Supreme Court. The nursing homes lost and the video can now be downloaded by anyone. In fact, we urge you watch the video and judge the nursing home’s conduct for yourself.
Nurses Lose Their Licenses
Video is a powerful tool in court. The mere threat of the video tape becoming public helped push the original abuse case to settlement. The two nurses didn’t lose their licenses, however. Only when reporters sent the video to the Georgia Board of Nursing did the nurses surrender their licenses. (We don’t think they had any choice, their callousness is beyond anything we have seen.)
In most cases there are rarely any “smoking guns.” Such evidence just doesn’t exist in the real world. The video made it possible for almost any lawyer to win the case for James Dempsey’s family. Take one look at the tape and it’s easy to see that the nurses were engaged disgraceful behavior. We believe that but for that tape, the nurses would still be “caring” for patients today.
Why Elder Abuse Claims Require the Best Lawyer Possible
As suggested above, a monkey could win case against Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center. We don’t say that to dis the lawyers who represented the late James Dempsey, our point is simply that most elder abuse and nursing home neglect cases don’t come with secret video and audio tapes. Without a tape, these cases become tough and require tremendous amounts of investigation and discovery. That is why having an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer is so important.
Even if you have a tape and the best evidence in the world, who you hire still makes a difference. Lawyers with a proven record of taking cases to trial and who have a reputation of multimillion dollar recoveries can make a $100,000.00 case suddenly worth $500,000 or more.
Insurance companies and their counsel know the lawyers who are fully prepared and ready for trial and those who simply want a quick settlement. Ironically, the lawyers who have taken the depositions, hired the best experts and are ready for trial have a better chance of avoiding trial. Think about it, defense lawyers know the best prepared lawyers stand a better chance of getting higher jury verdicts.
Victims of nursing home abuse and neglect are often some of the most vulnerable clients a lawyer will ever represent. In many instances they are isolated, have difficulties communicating and live in constant fear of retaliation.
We understand the special needs of nursing home patients and know they are entitled to the best representation possible. If the person suffering from neglect is a loved one, you want the best.
For over three decades, attorney Brian Mahany has championed the rights of the elderly. As a lawyer, police officer, prosecutor and even a senior TRIAD liaison, Brian understands the unique needs of elderly and neglected clients.
Today, Brian has partnered with some of the most experienced nursing home abuse lawyers in the United States to offer services throughout the United States.
If you or a loved one has been in a nursing home or adult day care facility and suffered a catastrophic injury, sexual abuse or neglect causing serious injury, give is a call. All inquiries are protected by the attorney – client privilege and kept confidential. We are happy to speak with you, evaluate your case and zealously protect as necessary.
For more information, contact us online, by email at [hidden email] or by phone at (202)800-9791. You can also visit our nursing home abuse and neglect and Georgia elder abuse pages for more helpful information.