Staff Writer for Salisbury News
One would think in a nursing home, everyone - staff and patients, alike - would be safe. We foolishly hold this false sense of security because much of our local media never bothers to report the incidents that happens within the walls, using the guise of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy as some excuse not to relay the horrors some face in these institutions.
Hartley Hall, a non-profit, private nursing home/rehabilitation center nestled in Pocomoke, Maryland had an incident on May 9, 2017, which shows how the negligent press and local law enforcement are failing to warn and keep the community safe from harm. The incident involving the nursing home staff member and a 46 year old male patient in for supposed 'short-term" rehabilitation, where he sexually assaulted the nurse leaves a particularly disturbing taste due to the fact the facility (on the website) boasts the following:
"It was founded by the local chapter of Soroptimist, for the purpose of providing housing and basic care for elderly ladies of the community."
|From Harley Hall's Website|
Upon investigation of this organization, it was found the Soroptimist is a global organization whose mission is: "...working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment."
Further down, the first Quick Fact on the organization's website states: "One in three women have been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in their lifetime."
How is it, a nursing home touting this type of background comes to have a male sexual predator in the same area as elderly women patients; cared for by a staff consisting mostly of women?
Over the weekend, the same source indicated many female workers called out sick because there was no security to keep them safe from further incident. "The Pocomoke police refused to arrest this patient," stated the source, whom while wasn't the direct victim was also traumatized by the event and feared for their own safety. "Everyone is scared to death because the men who work there leave on Friday afternoon so many had no choice but to call out."
By not having adequate staffing coverage, the nursing home patients are at serious risk of assault with no one (or very few) people there to help them ward off an attacker. Therefore, the question has to be asked, why didn't the police arrest this patient immediately regardless of his medical situation or at least, post a 24 hour/7 day detail until he was ready to be taken to central booking and held in the Snow Hill's holding facility until the June court appearance (and beyond)?
The scary fact is the perpetrator is still at Hartley Hall and the big question is, why?
|click to enlarge|
With the way our local media fails continuously to report on these hotbed issues, one has to wonder, how many other incidents such as this falls through the cracks? And, furthermore, why isn't anyone doing anything proactive rather than reactive to these types of dangers the elderly face?
Shouldn't our police and media be concerned to the point of action?
How many people have to be assault and sexually violated before it becomes an out front issue?