Caught On Tape
A worker at a nursing home in Converse is in custody facing charges related to nursing home abuse because of video obtained from a surveillance camera hidden in the resident’s room.
Police stated that the 77-year-old victim’s daughter installed the motion-activated “granny cam” in her room after the elderly woman, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, had injuries on her body that she could not explain. The camera later recorded footage of the 51-year-old worker slapping the victim on her face, striking her body, and flinging her onto the bed. In a subsequent written report, the female worker claimed that the victim fell.
In a statement, the nursing home manager insisted that the abuse was an isolated incident and that the facility was cooperating with investigators.
Texas is one of only four states (the others are Washington, Oklahoma, and New Mexico) that allows the use of hidden cameras in care facilities; the Lone Star State enacted an enabling law in 2001. These devices must comply with very specific conditions, such as:
Posted Notices: Written notices must appear “conspicuously” throughout the facility to inform residents, visitors, staff, and anyone else that hidden cameras are in use.
Roommates: These people must agree to the camera’s installation and may give conditional approval; for example, they may insist that their faces never be recorded.
Evidence Requirements: Only the original and unedited video is admissible; the footage must be time and date-stamped.
Permission: Only the resident has the power to approve the camera. A relative cannot approve it, unless the resident is legally incompetent.
Impact: The video is not absolute proof of wrongdoing; it must be corroborated with other evidence.
Predictably, there are strong feelings on both sides of the surveillance camera issue. Advocates claim that they lead to a safer environment and give additional peace of mind to loved ones; opponents cite deficiencies such as an environment of mistrust and the creation of a “Big Brother” mentality at the facility.
Because many older adults are so physically frail, a tiny bit of force often causes a serious injury; for example, the victim in the above story suffered a severe back injury. Therefore, in many cases, victims are entitled to compensation for both their economic and non-economic damages.
Elder abuse is a significant problem in South Central Texas. For prompt assistance in this area, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney today.