A 58-year-old East Lansing, Michigan, assisted living facility employee is facing vulnerable adult abuse charges, a second-degree felony that carries with it a potential 4-year prison sentence after an 82-year-old resident died under their care last year.
The defendant, who, according to her attorney, has worked at this facility for years and has at least 35 years of blemish-free caregiving history, had a $5,000 bond imposed after her arraignment in late November.
She continued working in the facility for nearly a year following the deadly incident before her arrest.
What the Defendant Reportedly Did
A Michigan Department of Attorney General press release published on Nov. 21 chronicles how the Vista Springs Imperial Park at Timber Ridge staff member reportedly allowed the decedent to venture out into a blizzard twice on Dec. 23, 2022.
A joint investigation conducted by the Bath Township Police Department and the state Attorney General revealed that there was drifting, blowing snow and a subzero windchill during the early morning hours when the elderly assisted living facility resident went outside, yet despite witnessing her depart the facility twice, the now-arrested worker made no attempt to ensure that the resident was properly dressed for the elements.
Clinton County prosecutors contend that the nursing home worker “recklessly failed to act to prevent” the elderly resident from going out into the extremely hazardous weather conditions, arguing that caregivers have a legal responsibility to protect vulnerable individuals under their care.
How the Assisted Living Facility Resident Died
In this case, the elderly nursing facility resident was ultimately discovered by a snowplow operator, who came to clear away the snow that had accumulated near the assisted living home at around 7 a.m., several hours after she ventured out into the elements. She was at least partially covered by snow.
Investigators believe the resident may have initially gone outside to walk her dog and became disoriented, leading to her death.
Paramedics were immediately summoned to the scene to transport the woman to the hospital, but she succumbed to hypothermia soon after arriving.
Understanding Your Options If a Nursing Home Breaches Their Duty of Care
Individuals live in assisted living facilities as opposed to at home alone or with family for a reason; they expect to receive support and oversight of their actions to ensure that they remain as happy, healthy, and safe as possible.
Caregivers have a legal obligation to be observant and do their best to prevent those in their care from suffering preventable harm. Based on the cases we receive calls about at our law firm, this often doesn’t happen, though. Staff abuse or neglect Chicago nursing home residents instead.
If an employee at an assisted living facility failed to exercise their duty of care obligation to protect you or a family member from harm, Thomas Law Offices is here to support you.
We offer free consultations to discuss the neglectful treatment that occurred and your rights to pursue compensation for the losses you incurred because of it.