Howard County, Maryland Nursing Home Negligence?: 91-Year-Old Resident is Murdered by Another Patient

On Saturday, 91-year-old James W. Brown, a nursing home resident at a Columbia, Maryland nursing home, died of head trauma after another patient attacked him at the assisted living facility where they were was residing. Earl Lafayette Wilder, 87, was charged with first- and second- degree assault and second- degree murder over the incident.

Police officers arrived at Harmony Hall, the Howard County assisted living facility, at around 4pm after being called in to investigate the assault. They say that Wilder started hitting Brown in the head while the two men were seated outside the nursing home. The two patients do not appear to have known each other before the attack and they don’t think that Brown provoked Wilder.

The 91-year-old assault victim was transported to a hospital after the incident where he later died. Brown’s death is the first homicide to occur in the county since October 2008.

Nursing Home Negligence

Maryland nursing home staffers are supposed to properly supervise residents so that they don’t get hurt or their health conditions don’t deteriorate further due to nursing home neglect. It is also the assisted living facility’s responsibility to make sure that residents don’t hurt other residents. This means keeping a close watch on patients with criminal histories or dementia or other conditions that might make them prone to attacking another person and, if necessary, keeping them away from workers and the other patients.

If a nursing home resident gets hurt or dies because the assisted living facility neglected to protect him or her from harm, the nursing home could be held liable for Maryland nursing home negligence and/or wrongful death.

Many nursing home residents are too sick or weak to take care of themselves and their poor health makes them even more prone to serious injury or death in the event they become the victims of neglect, an injury accident, or any type of violent crime.

Md. Man Charged in Nursing Home Murder, My Fox DC, August 24, 2009
Man, 87, charged in death of fellow senior home resident, 91, The Baltimore Sun, August 24, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Aggression between nursing-home residents more common than widely believed, studies find, Cornell University, May 29, 2008
Nursing Home Abuse Overview, Justia

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