Houston, TX- Nursing homes are supposed to be quiet places where an elderly person can live out their golden years in peace and tranquility, but that isn’t always the case, and these homes can become a place of danger and violence. Such is the case of two Houston nursing homes where violent outbursts over the past two weeks left two residents dead and another in critical condition.
The most recent incident occurred Monday night at HMG Park Manor of Cypress Station. Police said that Raul Rocha, 46, attacked his roommate and relative Mario Flores after the two men got into an argument. Rocha apparently used a fitness weight to hit Flores over the head, causing him serious injury to the head, Click2Houston.com reported.
Flores was flown to a local hospital where he was listed in critical condition.
Rocha was arrested and charged aggravated assault.
This is the second violent incident at a Houston-area nursing home in just two weeks.
On April 23rd, a wheel-chair bound resident of Lexington Nursing and Rehabilitation home in Houston, brutally beat and killed two men he shared a room with. According to police, the 56 year-old man slammed the heads of the both men’s heads against the arm of his wheelchair until they were dead.
Police charged the man with two counts of capital murder but struggled to find a motive for the violent crime. The daughter of one of the victims said the three men didn’t get along and her father expressed concern that he could be harmed by his roommate.
The three victims in these cases weren’t deaf or mute so it would be safe to assume they were yelling and most likely called out for help. Fortunately, for the man living at HMG Park Manor, his attacker was stopped, but the men living at the Lexington facility were not so lucky. It’s alarming that such violent incidents have occurred in Houston is such a short time period and begs the question: Where was the staff when these beating were happening?
Lack of adequate staff is a common problem in Texas long-term care facilities. A review of nursing homes in the state from last fall found that staffing at these facilities is subpar. The most one-on-one care residents of nursing home residents in the state receive on a daily basis is 2.4 hours. For optimal care, a nursing home should provide their residents with at least four hours of one-on-one care each day.
“It seems skeleton crews are working the hallways of Texas nursing homes,” Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care, who conducted the survey, said.
Even though in both of these incidents, staff members were not responsible for harming the injured patients, both facilities had a duty to protect them from harm that means from staff and other residents. It is possible that both of these nursing homes could be liable for the injuries and deaths that occurred on their premises. A consultation with a Houston nursing home abuse attorney can help a family determine if they have grounds to seek compensation from a facility for failing to protect their loved one from harm.