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Death of disabled Georgia man leads to indictment

When a patient is injured or dies under suspicious circumstances in a nursing home or assisted living facility, an investigation may be conducted to determine if there was medical malpractice. Sometimes, an investigation will result in a determination that criminal acts occurred. When this happens, the responsible party may face criminal prosecution. A criminal conviction in connection with nursing home abuse may make it easier to pursue compensation for the victim or victim's family.

In 2011, a 58-year-old disabled man allegedly died of blunt force trauma under the care of a registered nurse who owned and operated an assisted-living facility in Jonesboro. Prosecutors are expected to argue that in addition to trauma, the man had been given insufficient food and water.

The nurse now faces charges relating to the death, including neglect of a disabled person, failure to report a need for protective services, and felony murder. Additionally, a man who is not a health care professional but who worked at the facility is facing charges of felony murder and abuse of the disabled adult.

The nurse, who is 44, has been arrested. She is being detained at Clayton County Jail. The man, who is 27, has not been found and is the subject of a fugitive warrant. The nurse is due in court on Jan. 9. Authorities continue to search for the man.

The death of a loved one in a skilled care facility often results in emotional and financial repercussions for the deceased's family. That is why it is important for those who have been affected by nursing home abuse to the informed about their rights.

Source: Clayton News Daily, "Two indicted in personal care home death," Kathy Jefcoats, Dec. 26, 2012

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