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Ila Swan: Letter to the Editor, Lawyers on Trial

RE: Money & Business 12/17/01
Lawyers on Trial

Dear Editor, I am so angry about this article by Pamela Sherrid.

First, where can John Q Public go when state and federal agencies fail to do their jobs?

Take a look at the amounts of monies that has been returned to tax payers funds using the Qui Tam Laws.

Who was watching the store when defense contractors were charging $600.00 for a coffee pot? The whistle blower returned thousands of dollars to our counties defense fund.

Who was watching when defective military tanks were being manufactured, tanks that would have cost the lives of many of our American Soldiers? If a whistle blower had not filed a Qui Tam Lawsuit, those tanks would have been released to the military. Again monies was returned to our defense funds.

For decades, big tobacco made campaign contributions to the politicians and in return, the tobacco industry was politically protected.

This political protection caused thousands more US Citizens to die from tobacco related disease.

Who owns most of our politicians that vote on our healthcare issues? Is it John Q. Public or is it corporations like Beverly Enterprises, Kaiser Permanente, Manor Care, Bayer, Kindred Care, or Sun Healthcare?

These corporations contribute millions but few dollars is given by the average citizens.

Let's look at the nursing home industry. Who or what other entity, can commit murder in the name of profit and not go to prison?

If we neglect or abuse an elderly person in our home, police are called and we are charged with a felony but when the same exact crime takes place in a nursing home, the Department of Health Services is called and the crime is treated as a 'regulatory' issue.

Congressional Hearings, Government Accounting Investigations, Independent Investigations, Pharmaceutical Investigations have proven, nursing home owners, cut staffing levels in their nursing homes so low, that life sustaining care, such as giving the patients water, or providing someone to feed a dependant patient, is impossible.

These nursing home owners cut the staff to increase their profits. As a result, lack of staff, causes thousands of elderly to die horrible deaths from dehydration, starvation, infections, fecal impactions and bedsores BUT no one is held accountable.

A couple years ago, Forbes published a story on the most over-paid CEO in America. Robert Elkins of Integrated Healthcare Services, a nursing home chain CEO, received that award.

At the same time Elkins was receiving millions in salaries, perks, bonuses and stock options, IHS was paying their actual hands on caregiver employees, minimum wage, with little or no chance of advancement and few if any benefits.

In response to the failed nursing home oversight system and the non-existent intervention from law enforcement, thousands of families have and are filing wrongful death lawsuits.

Families are winning millions by settlements and jury awards and it is not because the jury identifies with the family or because the nursing home owners like these families, so they just give them money, it is because the juries and the defense attorneys see the evidence of the most outrageous, inhumane care being provided by these nursing homes.

Do we add more injuries to these families whose loved ones have been brutally abused or neglected to death?

Do we allow legislators receiving campaign contributions from these nursing homes, to pass 'tort reform laws' stopping families from seeking justice when none is automatically provided?

OR do we do the right thing and demand decent, humane care be given to our elderly and we start holding these so-called elected representatives accountable for not insuring the over sight systems provides protection to the elderly US Citizens and when a negligent homicide occurs, these representatives, represent the citizens and demand that law enforcement gets involved?

The failed over-sight systems and the politicians who owe favors to these greedy corporations are the real culprits in these lawsuits, not these injured families who are forced to file lawsuits to get any kind of accountability.

Shame on PAMELA SHERRID or anyone else who advocates fixing the problems with tort reform rather than demanding the criminal correct the wrongs they do.


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