Nursing Home Freeze Related Death Leads to Elder Abuse Charges for Hypothermia
A recent report from the Colorado Springs police department confirms that three individuals have been charged as a result of their negligence in the case of an elderly woman who froze to death outside the Union Printers Home early in February 2020. Rosalie Warren, 52, was a nurse at the facility, and Asia Murray and Taquenis Eldridge (ages 35 and 31, respectively) were certified nursing assistants and are currently facing charges for the occurrence, though none are yet in custody.
Nursing Home Elopement in Cold Weather Climates is a Preventable Disaster
When a resident elopes from a nursing home and is exposed to the elements, horrific injuries occur. The most grave of which is wrongful death due to exposure.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys have handled many nursing home elopement cases. If your family member escaped from a nursing home and froze to death due to snow exposure, call the caring, compassionate and narrowly focused nursing home neglect lawyers at Senior Justice Law Firm.
We always provide free case consultations and we work on contingency fee only. Call or live chat with our firm now to begin the conversation: 888-375-9998
First Charged with Care and Supervision, Now Charged with Criminal Neglect
The sentiment surrounding the case appears generally to be one of surprise—not only as a result of the victim’s unexpected neglect, but also because the justice system is acting. A nursing home abuse attorney who is currently representing the family of the victim, noted that prosecution for negligence and abuse is rare both in Colorado and across the country. Similarly, the victim’s niece voiced both surprise and satisfaction that the charges had been brought. Many believe the strong legal action stems from public outrage in allowing a vulnerable nursing home resident to freeze to death.
The case of Margarita Sam, the victim, may have powerful implications for the prosecution of such negligence in the future; many abused victims and their families are not aware of how to file a lawsuit, and so facilities can continue to get away with their behavior. Sam’s case is being taken up by the attorney general and will be held in Colorado Springs; the state’s attorney general notes that the goal is not only to seek justice for the family but also to send a message—both statewide and across the nation—that officials will not tolerate such abuse toward the elderly.
Local news source KDRO reports that Sam, age 89, had gotten into a disagreement with a member of staff at the nursing home and was permitted to exit the building in order to calm down. She did not return, and her absence was not noted until hours later at approximately 11am, when staff found her outside on a bench. Local weather reports indicate that the temperature was around 26 degrees during the morning hours. The coroner later confirmed that Margarita Sam had passed away as a direct result of hypothermia due to exposure to snow and cold weather.
After Sam was found frozen to death, the nursing home contacted Colorado Springs police but failed to notify the family of the situation. Rather, the family was alerted to their loved one’s passing from the El Paso County Coroner’s Office. After pressing for a lawsuit against the facility for allowing its own patient to freeze to death, it was revealed that several other suits are also underway.
Union Printers Home is now shut down, and all patients have been relocated to other facilities. However, Margarita Sam’s case continues, and the lawsuit has prompted dozens of families to come forward with their own reports of physical abuse, injuries such as broken bones, and even theft of property and money from the residents in Union Printers.
One resident who lived on the same floor as Margarita Sam had filed multiple grievances against the facility, stating that there simply were not enough staff to care for all of the residents. This is just one of dozens of similar complaints voiced by individuals now removed from the facility, as well as their families upon seeing the condition of their loved ones when they were moved.
Suspect Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home abuse and neglect cases are the focus of our law firm. Senior Justice Law Firm is one of the few firms in the U.S. with this narrow focus on elder abuse cases inside long term care facilities. Call us today to see why we are different and how we can help your family get answers.
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