After weeks of working with folks who are suffering with the loss of loved ones due only to Gov. Abbott's top-down edicts shutting down visits to nursing homes, the relatives of loved ones imprisoned by the Governor have had enough. It is one thing to make rules for a day or a week, but this started in March - six months later we are still into a lock-down with an unreasonable top-down approach resulting in untold suffering that is very real and horribly damaging to many people in order to stop a mere chance of stopping damage to a few.
This suit (the whole thing is here) comes after literally losing potential plaintiffs through death resulting from the separation of nursing home residents from the people who were caring for them.
If the rules were even effective, we could talk about the tradeoffs of the nursing home lockdown, but our clients have watched delivery drivers have their temperature checked and then waltz into nursing homes to drop off vending supplies. The rules are a mere veneer of "virus security" and little more.
The bottom line of this suit is that Governor Abbott and his band of merry administrators are violating constitutional and statutory rights of Plaintiffs by prohibiting essential family visitors, damaging the health of residents in these facilities, and costing precious time to the residents and their families. The Defendant Nursing Homes are breaching contracts with Plaintiffs by disallowing residents to visit with loved ones even when they have medical power of attorney for residents, resulting in elder abuse and violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide equal access to medical care to their residents. We are asking the court to order the nursing homes to allow residents to receive visits by essential family caregivers under the same conditions that apply to employees and staff, and to enjoin the Governor suspending state laws which protect nursing home residents. As a reminder, this state is not run by a monarchy. The Governor cannot suspend laws...that is something that only the Texas Legislature can do. (Art. 1, 28.)
Other important notes:
- Nursing home resident visitors assist nursing homes to care for patients, and often act as eyes and ears for the care of their residents.
- We wanted to file this earlier, but we have had plaintiffs who have relatives dying alone in the nursing home, wondering why their kids have stopped loving them.
- There are other facilities, including memory loss facilities who are permanently losing relationships forever and autistic residential facilities who are suffering setbacks, for example, which are doing additional damage from which the victims will never recover. .
Potential illness from a virus, even a dangerous one, does not merit the complete abandonment of reason and dedication to that single issue.