Two Dementia Patients Die Following Brutal Resident Assaults in New Jersey Nursing Home:

Investigations are underway at two nursing homes in Central Jersey where violent resident-on-resident attacks led to the deaths of two 91-year-olds in January, says an article on Set in neighboring counties and owned and operated by separate nursing home owners, AristaCare at Cedar Oaks in South Plainfield and Complete Care in Westfield were the sites of the deadly resident assaults; in both cases the victims were patients being treated for dementia.

According to the article, the details of the assaults leading the wrongful death of the two dementia patients, both nonagenarian, are as follows:

  • Clara Sutkowski, a dementia patient at AristaCare, was assaulted on January 16 by an 81-year-old man with a history of combative behavior. Sutkowski’s assailant struck her in the head and knocked her to the floor, resulting in an untreatable brain bleed. Sutkowski died three days later at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where the county medical examiner ruled her death a homicide.
  • Herman Walker, a resident with dementia at Complete Care, was reportedly attacked in his bed by a roommate, a 61-year-old man who also had dementia. After being hospitalized for about two weeks, Walker succumbed to his injuries, just a day after Sutkowski’s death.

With the investigations still underway for both incidents, no official charges of wrongful death or nursing home malpractice have been filed by attorneys at this time. Both the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating the respective incidents. The families of the victims are meanwhile waiting for explanations as to whether nursing home malpractice has played a role; Complete Care stated in a letter sent to families of residents that staff response to its incident was done “swiftly and responsibly” and that all “policies, procedures, and protocols to ensure resident safety” were followed.

A violent incident involving two or more residents is known as resident-on-resident abuse. This type of nursing home abuse often occurs when nursing home staff neglects to provide adequate supervision and especially when staff fails to separate residents with violent tendencies from others. Failure to take the proper measures to avoid resident-on-resident abuse is an example of nursing home malpractice.

When the violent actions of one resident directly causes the death of another—as was the circumstance in the homicide of Clara Sutkowski and appears to be the case with Herman Walker—and it is furthermore shown that the nursing home failed to take the necessary steps to avoid the violent actions, it is very likely that nursing home wrongful death has occurred. In such cases, or in any event where nursing home malpractice is suspected to have brought about the death of a nursing home resident, an experienced skilled wrongful death attorney should immediately be contacted.

Fighting Elder Abuse, Nursing Home Malpractice, and Wrongful Death

As a seasoned nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney, Brian P. Murphy has spent years holding Philadelphia/PA and NJ nursing homes responsible for nursing home abuse and neglect. Residents of Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing homes should feel secure in expecting their rights guaranteed under federal law will be upheld at the facilities in which they live.  Having practiced for years as a wrongful death attorney, Brian Murphy fearlessly confronts negligent nursing homes and steadfastly pursues the successful resolution of his clients’ cases. Should you find yourself needing to contact a nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney, call Brian Murphy today to discuss your legal options.