It is not strange to hear about a fire, and furthermore it is not all that uncommon to hear that a fire was caused by a methamphetamine lab explosion--however, it is strange when that type of fire occurred at a nursing home. If you are baffled by the previous statement, you join the opinion of many others in Ashtabula, Ohio. Earlier this week a fire erupted at Park Haven Home in the Cleveland suburb, and early reports indicate there was a meth lab in one of the patient's rooms.
The blaze was reported to have left one man dead and another six injured. The nursing home where this occurred was already in hot water after several complaints of nursing home abuse where patients were not receiving adequate care. The Associated Press reported that the decedent, Shaun Warrens who was 31 years old, was burned over 90 percent of his body and his death has been ruled accidental. Warrens was neither a resident nor an employee.
According to Police Chief Robert Stell, they believe that there were two visitors and one nursing home resident that were aware of the meth lab. Investigators are reporting that it appears someone brought in the materials necessary to make meth, but it was unclear if there was actually a lab set up in the room.
The Associated Press report went on to explain that the accusations of abuse in previous years are being brought up again in light of this situation. The report explained that:
A federal rating system gives the nursing home one star out of five -- the lowest possible on health inspections and quality measures. Inspectors noted 11 fire safety violations in 2010 and 2011, including a finding that the building did not have a written emergency evacuation plan.
This incident brings to mind a new danger in nursing home facilities: the visitors. There is also a stigma in this country with regards to nursing homes. There are constantly news reports coming out about cases of abuse or neglect at a nursing home, and the facility's ability to provide adequate care is often questioned. However, it is not often that you hear a report of a visitor causing a problem, since many complaints are typically aimed at the staff and management of a facility.
Has it really gotten to the point where there needs to be stricter regulations regarding visitors in nursing homes? Must people not only check in, but be searched to make sure they are not creating a hazardous situation for all residents and staff? In light of this tragic event, these things need to be addressed.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an incident at a nursing home facility, speak with a skilled Philadelphia accident lawyer today to find out your legal rights and options.