Nursing Home Negligence- Remembering Katrina Victims

As devastating as Hurricane Katrina was, there were many deaths that those in the community felt could have been prevented. Many of these deaths occurred at a nursing home run by Mabel and Sal Mangano. The Manganos were charged with negligent homicide after 35 of the patients living at their nursing home were killed in the flood. Grieving families with retained lawyers enlisted the help of legal nurse consultants to bring justice to their loved ones who had been taken too soon.

Relatives of the nursing home’s residents called the Manganos the day before Hurricane Katrina and asked if they were going to evacuate the home. The Manganos made the decision not to evacuate any of the nursing home residents. There is speculation that this is because they did not think it was safe to evacuate the frail patients or that they did not want to incur the large amount of expenses involved in moving the residents to a nursing home out of harm’s way.

The Manganos felt that by stocking extra food, medication and power generators they would be able to keep residents safe without having to move them. When Katrina finally did strike, the entire nursing home was filled floor to ceiling with water within 20 minutes. The Manganos and their staff put patients on mattresses wrapped in plastic so that the mattresses floated. The residents that survived the flood were moved to a parish courthouse.

During the court trial of the Manganos, a witness testified that in previous years Sal Mangano told her, at a meeting to prepare for any potential hurricanes, that if a hurricane was not coming right through the door of the nursing home he was not going to evacuate anyone because it would be a waste of money. Prosecutors made the argument that the failure of the Manganos to evacuate the residents during Katrina made them guilty of reckless disregard. A lawyer for the Manganos argued that they did not evacuate residents because they were afraid transporting the residents to a different location was going to be unsafe and may even lead to the death of certain residents. An expert witness who gave testimony during the trial stated that it is common for nursing home deaths to occur if a home has to be evacuated.

The Manganos felt that their nursing home was a safe place for its residents to remain during Katrina because the home suffered no damage during Hurricane Betsy, which occurred in 1965. They believed that due to their physical location, the nursing home would not be vulnerable to flooding.

After jury deliberation, the Manganos were acquitted of negligent homicide. When it comes to situations like this, legal nurse consultants in NJ can provide your case with professional insight that may surpass that of an unscrupulous defense lawyer.

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Mercedes Potter is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow her @CedesPotter to see what else she’s been blogging about.

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