The Veterans Administration continues to struggle with caring for its nursing home residents according to USA TODAY’s Donovan Slack who wrote the story “My Dad Died At Their Hands: WWII Vet Fatally Injured at VA Nursing Home.”
91-year-old James “Milt” Ferguson, a World War II veteran residing at an Iowa VA home for less than a month, ultimately died from a head injury caused by a fall while unsupervised at the facility. The tragedy was compounded by lengthy delays in reporting the incident and transporting him to a trauma care center.
His son Jim told the paper, “Somebody didn’t watch my dad and let him die. It’s supposed to be a safe place.”
Many Nursing Homes are Understaffed
John Dalli, partner at law firm Dalli & Marino LLP, underscores the importance of proper staffing at any nursing home facility.
“Unfortunately many nursing home facilities, including VA facilities, are understaffed. Leaving patients unsupervised can lead to dangerous results such as this,” said Dalli. “We highly recommend thoroughly researching any facility on their safety records, paying close attention to citations involving understaffing.”
The story later reveals how the VA is clearly aware of its shortcomings. A recent internal study found that 71% of its 133 facilities only receive 1 or 2 stars out of five-stars for quality. 40,000 veterans rely on these facilities each year.
Ferguson’s story is all the more upsetting because Jim had moved in with his parents and took care of them for three years. After his mom died in 2018, a VA social worker strongly advised Jim that his father needed round-the-clock supervision.
“It’s like my dad died at their hands,” he said.
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Copyright © 2019 Gannett Media. All Rights Reserved. [Img: Brian Powers/USA TODAY Network; Ferguson Family Photos]
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