Help! I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Get Up.

We’ve all read stories about the atrocities that can happen in nursing homes. The combination of poor care and relatively helpless patients is a bad one. In October 2006, 60-year-old patient Linda Ober was dropped by two employees at the Gateway Care and Retirement Center. The fall resulted in two broken legs, but Ober’s cries of pain and requests for help were ignored. Staff members tried to convince Ober that the fall was in fact a bad dream, and that the incident hadn’t occurred. Less than a week later, Ober died.

Ober’s family filed a suit for negligence and wrongful death. In spring of 2008, two nursing home workers involved in the situation were indicted and found guilty, one of misdemeanor reckless endangerment and the other, Suzanne Ruddell, who was the director of the nursing home, of criminal mistreatment. In December 2008 Ruddell was sentenced to a prison term of 19 months.