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Nurses Plead Guilty to Criminal Charges in Pittsburgh Nursing Home Abuse Case

Two nurses recently pled guilty to criminal charges of assaulting and harassing a patient in a Pittsburgh nursing home. Co-workers testified that the nurses would stomp on, hit and throw oranges at Thelma Bryant, a ninety-four year old resident diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and confined to a wheelchair. The guilty pleas came after another co-worker, who was the home’s night-time supervisor, was convicted of harassment. It was alleged that the supervisor knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it and failed to reprimand the nurses involved.

An investigation showed more than 90 of the 1,300 employees at the county-run facility had previous criminal records, including convictions for theft, assault and narcotics trafficking. Many had also been convicted or charged of driving under the influence. Shockingly, one nurse faced previous charges for harassment and assault of another nursing home resident. That nurse was originally a suspect in this case but charges were not pressed due to lack of evidence.

Ongoing investigations of the home also uncovered the effects budget cuts were having on the care offered to the facility’s residents. These cutbacks have affected not only the quality of employees hired by the facility, but also the quality of food offered to its residents. The home’s CEO has vowed to begin periodically updating background checks of current employees even though these are not required by Pennsylvania state law. He also stated that the families of residents have remained supportive despite the charges, and he promised to continue to do a “good job.”

Nursing home abuse is not always as evident as criminal assault and 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 clothing, inappropriate dress for conditions, conditions that could be hazardous to the elderly, 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. Elderly patients often have difficulty reporting such abuse to their loved ones, making it all the more important for loved ones 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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