As elder abuse lawyers, we’ve seen and heard it all when it comes to nursing home residents and bedsores. But occasionally, a story or case comes along that is so severe it shocks us. Ross Rasmussen, 58, is facing charges of severe elder abuse after the death of an 86 year old manunder his care.
The man suffered a stroke that left him unable to move or speak. He was staying in a “remotely-operated” care home where Rasmussen worked. Rasmussen is a registered nurse and was the case manager for the man which meant that he was supposed to monitor his condition and provide the necessary care. Rasmussen is pleading no contest to the second-degree assault charges that say he failed to provide that care from July 2007 to October 2007. Rasmussen maintains that he checked on the man every month, as required, and on his last visit on September 11, 2007, there were no signs of bedsores. “If I had known there was a problem, we would have done something about it,” he said in court.
But on October 12, 2007, the elderly man was found unconscious and taken to Maui Memorial Medical Center. There, they found the man plagued with more than 11 bedsores. The bedsores covered his entire back side, from shoulders to heels. One of his heels actually developed gangrene. The man died three days later. Deputy Attorney General Dawn Shigezawa said, “Many of them were stage four, meaning it went through tendon all the way down to the bone. By the time he got to the hospital, he was too late to be saved. It was a horrible way to die.” Rasmussen has been ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and was placed on five years’ probation.
Caretaker Fails to Provide Bare Minimum Care
According to Shigezawa:
“The state’s position is that the defendant flat out did nothing…Basically, any RN (registered nurse) worth his salt as a professional would have at least noticed his wounds due to the severity. If Mr. Rasmussen basically did the minimal check and looked down his hospital gown, he would have noticed it…It wouldn’t have taken much. It was just a case of severe neglect.”
Late stage bedsores take a significant time to develop and Rasmussen should have known that a patient that is physically immobile is at a high risk of bedsores and needs to be turned multiple times per day. Monthly visits are not enough to prevent such a horrible outcome and Rasmussen did not fulfill his obligation as a caretaker.
Elder Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia
If your loved one is currently under the care of an individual or they are a resident of a nursing home or care facility and you are worried that the care they are receiving is negligent, abusive, or inadequate, you should speak with our professionals: contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation or call for a free consultation with one of our elder abuse lawyers at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.