Each year, we’re hearing about more cases of severe forms of elderly abuse that are brought to light. From elderly physical abuse to sexual abuse, emotional abuse and medical negligence, there seems to be no end to the dangerous ways elderly individuals may be abused in nursing homes. According to news stories, Erytha Mayberry, the elderly woman from Oklahoma City whose story of severe physical abuse was discussed in the New York Times, may be one of the most well-known. For Mayberry, what is so distinct about her case was the fact that the severe physical abuse, abuse that surfaced mere months before her death in a nursing home, was recorded on video.
According to her three daughters, they installed a “Nanny-cam”-type of video recorder after Mayberry accused someone in the Oklahoma City nursing home of stealing her things. But what the video recorded was so much worse than petty theft.
In the video, you can see two nursing home employees severely abusing Mayberry in an Oklahoma City nursing home in 2012. Physical abuse of elderly residents may include hitting, punching, throwing and even physical restraints — but that’s not all. For Erytha Mayberry, the physical abuse she suffered in an Oklahoma City nursing home included enduring a nurse’s aide shoving a latex glove into her mouth — and another thumping her on the head.
While the video was able to capture the abuse, unfortunately it was too late for Mayberry, who died a few months after the video surfaced.
According to Mayberry’s daughter, what happened next is hard to imagine, too. They say that they contacted management at their mother’s nursing home, about what was on the tape, and yet they believe they were not listened to and nothing was done to avoid future occurrences of severe physical abuse.
In order for elderly abuse to end in Oklahoma and around the country, nursing homes must take elderly abuse seriously. After all, these are elderly residents that are in their care and it the home’s responsibility to monitor and protect them from pain and injury. When nursing homes fail to protect their residents, they paint a horrifying picture of what’s really going on in the countless nursing homes that populate our state.
At this time, we are not advising individuals with elderly loved ones in nursing homes to install Nanny-cams or become detectives in their nursing homes.* Instead, we’re asking the nursing homes themselves to step up and do their jobs, protecting our elderly loved ones in nursing homes. The way we do this is through nursing home abuse lawsuits. Each time an individual who was severely injured in a nursing home has a family member stand up for them through a nursing home abuse lawsuit, the nursing homes hear this simple message very clear: It’s time to do your job. It’s time to take accountability.
*Note: Before families place cameras in the room they should check their state law as it may require consent forms to be filled out to notify the facility.