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Minnesota Nursing Home Worker Charged With Criminal Abuse

A Minnesota nursing home employee was charged with criminal abuse last week in an appalling case involving a mentally handicapped patient. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the employee force-fed the fifty-six year old patient, despite the fact she did not want to eat and had difficulties swallowing even under normal conditions. Further, the employee was reported recounting the story and laughing with co-workers following the horrific incident.

When offered food by the employee, the patient, who suffers from mental retardation and cerebral palsy, shook her head no to indicate she was not hungry. The employee then proceeded to drag the woman—who was wearing only her shirt—outside on a cold Minnesota day. Once outside, the employee pulled the patient’s head back and forced heaping spoonfuls of food into her mouth. The employee then released the woman, causing her to fall to the ground as her head snapped forward. Even more despicable was the fact the employee later gloated to others about the incident.

One of the employee’s co-workers was able to capture the entire incident on a cellular phone video camera. Although the co-worker did not intervene during the incident, the video was turned over to authorities to be used in the employee’s criminal proceedings. An interview of the patient, by authorities from the Health Department, indicated the woman was scared and depressed for an entire week following the incident. While a spokesperson for the nursing home said he believed that this was an isolated incident, similar incidents of abuse and neglect are far too common around the country.

Nursing home abuse is not always as evident as criminal assault or harassment. More often, abuse is seen in the form of neglect or substandard care. Signs of nursing home neglect or abuse include poor hygiene of residents, residents wearing unclean or inappropriate clothing, hazardous conditions, bed sores, wounds and sudden weight loss or dehydration. The appearance of depression and complaints of being restrained for extended periods of time also may indicate nursing home malpractice. Since nursing home patients cannot often communicate abuse to their loved ones or authorities, it is extremely important to pay close attention for these warning signs.

Placing a loved one in a nursing facility is difficult enough without having to worry about the quality of care received. Our attorneys have successfully defended the rights of thousands of elder care abuse victims and their families. If you, or someone you know, have been a victim of elder care abuse, please contact us at for a free consultation. Our attorneys are available to assist in all aspects of your litigation.

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Gavin P. Lentz, Esq.
Bochetto & Lentz

Gavin Lentz (right) was selected as a "Super Lawyer" for 2006-2009 in New Jersey by Philadelphia Magazine. He has also been selected as a "Super Lawyer" by Philadelphia Magazine and the Legal Intelligencer in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

On September 16, 2002 Mr. Lentz was selected as one of the top 50 lawyers in Pennsylvania by the Legal Intelligencer.

He has made many television appearances, including on Fox News, The Today Show, Inside Edition, and The Phil Donahue Show.

Mr. Lentz is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

As a former prosecutor, he knows how to aggressively go after a nursing home to prove the facts necessary to protect your loved one's rights.

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