Felicia Eagle, a 20-year-old nursing home patient, was found dead recently after her screams for help were ignored by staff at the Golden Living Center for more than six hours. According to records from the state’s department of health, she yelled for help and begged the nursing home to call her doctor because “something was really wrong” and her pain was “unbearable.” Nursing home staff responded to the patient’s cries for help by commenting to one another that “we’ve heard all about it” from the patient “four times at least.”
A physician at the state’s department of health said the nursing home violated state and federal law by refusing to obtain medical help for the woman: “If the patient requests to go to the hospital, . . . they are supposed to take them to the emergency room. They are not supposed to make a judgment that the person is just trying to disrupt the normal services in the facility, close the door, and leave them alone.
The patient suffered from terminal kidney disease and was admitted to the home because her elderly father was not able to take care of her. As a result of the investigation, the United States Department of Health and Human Services terminated the nursing home’s ability to receive Medicare and Medicaid payments beginning May 5, 2008. Felicia Eagle was in the facility because her father is elderly and her mother passed away several years ago. Her family has now retained an attorney and has advised them not to speak to the media. Read more about the state’s investigation of the nursing home.
From her family, Felicia Eagle no doubt received love. From the nursing home that promised to take care of her, she received indifference. This sad story is proof that the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.