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Emergencies and the Issue of Elderly Abandonment

Elderly residents of nursing homes count on staff members of care facilities to provide them with the help they need to stay safe and secure. This is especially true for seniors who have mobility issues and this is especially important in an emergency situation, such as when there is a fire, flood, earthquake, or other natural disaster.

Unfortunately, there are myriad reports of nursing home residents abandoned in nursing homes when life-threatening disasters occur. When this happens, seniors who are hurt or family members of seniors who lose their lives should contact San Francisco nursing home abuse lawyers for help in pursuing a claim for compensation.

Elderly Seniors Are at Risk of Abandonment in Emergency Situations

One troubling example of a situation where elderly seniors were abandoned by their caretakers occurred in 2017 when fires were raging in California. According to ABC 7 News, the seniors lived in the Varenna Oakmont Senior Living Community in Santa Rosa and approximately 70 residents were left at the nursing home facility despite the risk the community would be engulfed in flames.

The seniors were discovered by a man who went to check on his grandfather at around 3:30 a.m. on a Monday morning as fires raged in the area. Upon arrival, he saw two women in the lobby who asked if he was the fire department coming to help.  He then saw dozens of elderly residents, many of whom were locked into their rooms.  He called his wife, who called the fire department, who came to help break down doors and who discovered residents sleeping.

The seniors were eventually evacuated from the care facility by the fire department, but the incident resulted in questions about where staff members were, why no employees were there with a master key, and why nothing was done to help these vulnerable older people escape from the care facility.

The management group for the nursing home claimed that while they were transporting residents to a safe location, local authorities refused to allow the staff to re-enter the area due to the dangers associated with the fire.  However, the Santa Rosa Police Department denies this and indicates they were not stopping anyone from getting into the area.

This case is one of many incidents in which seniors were put at risk in an emergency because they were abandoned or no plans were made to help them get to safety. The results can be tragic. Nursing home residents died in nursing home care facilities during Hurricane Katrina.

There were also 12 nursing home residents killed in Hurricane Irma when they were left inside of a nursing home that lost power and had no air conditioning so temperatures reached 99 degrees.

These tragic examples show the dire consequences when no plan is in place to help seniors in an emergency situation and when staff members abandon their responsibilities to care for older nursing home residents.

San Francisco nursing home abuse lawyers should be consulted for help by victims who are harmed or whose loved ones lose their lives due to seniors in nursing care facilities being abandoned in their time of need.  To find out more about how an experienced attorney can help, contact Evans Law Firm online or call 415-441-8669 for a free initial consultation today.

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