Woman sues nursing home for getting her arrested after she complained

The DesMoines Register has an article about a woman who complained about the care her mother ws recieving at a nursing home being arrested after the nursing home stated that she was “abusing” her mother.  This lack of accountability by the nursing home is astounding.  Trying to quiet the family of a neglected resident who had every right to complain about the poor care given to her mother is ridiculous.  Obviously, the nursing home did not want the family to witness other acts of neglect and wanted to protect their mother.  Below are excerpts of the article.

A Cedar Falls woman who claims she was jailed in retaliation for complaints about her mother’s care at a Waverly nursing home has sued the home and the city.   Maxine Veatch, 64, and her sister, Christine Price, 57, of Mason City sued Bartels Retirement Community, at whose nursing home their 94-year-old mother, Agnes Bell, has lived since 2004.

Co-defendants include the home’s administrator, Debra Schroeder; its director of nursing, Brianna Brunner; and Police Sgt. Jason Leonard.  Veatch and Price allege false imprisonment, negligence, defamation and malicious prosecution. Police and nursing home officials could not be reached for comment. The sisters have asked for at least $75,000.

The federal lawsuit alleges the sisters noticed problems such as medication errors and a lack of cleanliness in 2006 when they visited their mother at Bartels’ Woodland Terrace nursing home. When they raised their concerns with managers, administrators compiled “a book of false and/or misleading accusations” against the sisters, the lawsuit claims.

The state has cited the home for 11 violations since 2004. Last year, inspectors alleged a high rate of medicine errors and problems with nursing services.

Bell allegedly collapsed in Veatch’s arms on Sept. 27, 2006, while she walked with her daughters to the home’s dining room. Veatch swung her 145-pound mother into the nearest wheelchair, and Bell recovered within a few minutes, according to the lawsuit.  A worker at the home reportedly complained to her bosses that she saw Veatch shove her mother into the wheelchair. Veatch was summoned two days later to the police station, where Leonard allegedly issued her a citation for assault and put her in jail for 23 hours. Veatch was then barred from the nursing home for 13 months. Price was denied visits for eight months.

Veatch was acquitted of the criminal charge. After Iowa Department of Human Services officials classified her as an abuser, Veatch appealed the decision, and her mother testified on her behalf. Administrative Law Judge Mark Lambert overturned the department’s finding and stated that Veatch had “prevented a potentially much more serious injury to her mother.”