Many of us are familiar with common types of nursing home abuse: Nursing home neglect, nursing home bed sores, slip-and-falls, and prescription mix-ups. However, a very serious type of nursing home abuse exists of an almost unthinkable kind: Nursing home sexual abuse.
This week at Butner Mental Hospital, the State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the possibility that disabled mental patients were photographed while nude during their stay at the hospital. According to reports from the Department of Health and Human Services, two healthcare technicians are on paid leave after a cell phone was turned in to authorities containing a picture of a partially nude mental patient and resident of the hospital.
Disability Rights North Carolina says that if the story checks out, it is an appalling violation of privacy rights. "We find it extremely disturbing that after all that has happened we would still be investigating staff behavior that is so clearly inappropriate," Vicki Smith, executive director of Disability Rights North Carolina said. "These folks are vulnerable. To be put in a position of being exploited by the very people who are supposed to be treating them is unconscionable."
Butner Hospital has already faced other allegations of poor patient safety and staffing shortages. Just two months ago, three hospital staff were accused of having sex with multiple female inmates working labor jobs at the hospital in exchange for making phone calls or sending emails.
Cell phones are not allowed to be used at all by hospital staff while on the job.