Often times, following accidents or injuries that are caused by a person or company’s negligence, the negligent individual or corporation must face two types of trials: a criminal trial that holds the party responsible for illegal actions, and a civil trial to compensate the victims for such things as medical bills, loss of time with a loved one, and pain and suffering.
This is exactly what’s happening in our attorneys’ ongoing Illinois wrongful death lawsuit. The wrongful death case arises from a situation in which a nurse at a Woodstock, Illinois nursing home improperly administered medication to patients, which allegedly caused or contributed to cause their deaths.
60 year-old nurse Marty Himebaugh has been dubbed the “Angel of Death.” This past Thursday, October 13, she pled guilty to criminal neglect of a long-term care facility resident. According to the Chicago Sun Times, her sentence has not yet been determined, but she faces up to three years in prison for the Class 4 felony. Sentencing is scheduled for December 14 of this year.
Although the plea bargain only relates to one of the patients to whom Himebaugh was accused of improperly administering medication, she may still be found liable in a civil court of law. Our Illinois nursing home negligence attorney on this case, Steve Levin, commented: “We’re pleased that she at the very least admitted some guilt for her actions. We’re disappointed that she didn’t face trial on all the charges against her, but we recognize that plea bargaining is a part of our judicial process.”
In the criminal case, the crime to which Himebaugh did plead guilty was related to giving anti-anxiety medication to whom it wasn’t prescribed. The patient later fell and suffered a cut to his forehead. Himebaugh later told police that she had “borrowed” the medicine from another resident.
Following an investigation conducted by the Illinois Department of Public Health, it was learned that Himebaugh overmedicated patients to guarantee that the nurses had quiet shifts. The same investigation also revealed that Himebaugh told another co-worker that “[patients with Down Syndrome] aren’t meant to live this long. They are meant to die in their teens, and I’m going to help him along.” For purposes of the investigation, three bodies were exhumed and examined, including Virginia Cole, whose family our attorneys represent. Of the three, only Cole was referenced in the criminal indictment.
Himebaugh, along with her supervisor at the nursing home, Penny Whitlock, was indicted in 2008 for recklessly endangering the lives of patients by administering unprescribed medication and excessive levels of morphine. Whitlock, who is no longer facing charges, was accused of failing to act when she learned that Himebaugh was overmedicating patients.
Our Chicago nursing home negligence lawyers understand how devastating it is when vulnerable patients are harmed, and have extensive experience fighting for the rights of victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. If you or a loved one have suffered from improper care by a nursing home, contact an attorney immediately to better understand your rights under the law.