About one year after losing a beloved father and husband to Alzheimer’s disease, a grieving Chicago family unexpectedly found a photo of their dying loved one on the Internet website Craigslist. The photo, taken while the elderly dementia patient was on his deathbed at Lake Cook Health Care Center in Northbrook, was reportedly posted numerous times along with belittling and insensitive comments. In response, the man’s shocked son and widow are now suing the nursing home that cared for him during his final months of life.
The family’s lawsuit alleges that an unknown nursing home employee or agent took the photographs without permission and then proceeded to publish them without authorization on Craigslist in October 2012. The complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court also alleges that a variety of mocking language accompanied the photos. According to the lawsuit, the photos constituted an invasion of the dying man’s privacy and caused his family both sorrow and grief. The family reportedly seeks compensation for emotional distress and invasion of privacy. In addition, the complaint seeks punitive damages for violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.
The photos reportedly remained online through at least the end of October. In November, the nursing home at issue changed ownership. The facility’s new owners have denied any knowledge of the photograph. The former owners of the nursing home stated they are currently investigating the allegation. The family of the dying man is reportedly attempting to ascertain exactly who posted the photos by issuing a subpoena to Craigslist.
This abhorrent situation demonstrates why Illinois has created laws designed to guard the rights of senior citizens and other individuals who reside in long-term care facilities. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act protects the rights of residents who live in long-term care facilities throughout the state. Those rights include the right to various levels of self-determination, the right to be free from abuse or neglect, and the right to privacy. Examples of such rights include freedom from unauthorized restraint, the ability to see and speak with visitors, the opportunity for seniors and other residents to select their own healthcare professionals, and the freedom to exercise constitutional rights such as voting. In addition, long-term care facilities must ensure that the rights provided to patients under the Act are not violated. If you feel the rights of your friend or loved one were infringed by a nursing home agent or employee, you should contact a competent nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer to discuss your concerns.
If the rights of your loved one were violated while he or she was a resident in an Illinois nursing home, do not hesitate to call Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 475-9596. Our capable Chicago area nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help you protect your elderly and disabled family members from abuse. To schedule a free consultation with a diligent Illinois lawyer, please feel free to contact Abels & Annes, P.C. through the law firm’s website.
Note: Abels & Annes, P.C. does not represent the victim’s family in the above mentioned lawsuit.
Chicago Doctor Sued Over Anti-Psychotic Drug Use in Nursing Home Residents, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, November 21, 2012
Complaints and New Ownership May Have Improved Care at Allegedly Substandard Lincoln Nursing Home, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, November 19, 2012
Picture Of Dying Patient Posted Online, Along With Cruel Remarks, by Suzanne Le Mignot, Chicago.cbslocal.com
In the Worst Possible Taste, by Jack Bouboushian, Courthouse News Service
Photo credit: elessar_x, Stock.xchng