Nursing Home Abuse Can Happen In YOUR Hometown!!!!

FINALLY!!!!! They have closed this facility!!!!
Read about it here

This page is in memory of my Grandmother, Garnett (Hillix) Knapp. It is also a way of letting people know that Nursing Home abuse can happen anywhere. Hopefully this page will not only open your heart, but open your eyes and make you aware that these things can and do happen anywhere. Even in your own hometown. Please be sure to sign the guestbook located at the bottom of the page.

In the early 1990's my Grandmother starting having problems remembering. She was diagnosed with osteoporosis, dementia and organic brain syndrome, a symptom of Alzheimer's. As my Grandmothers disease progressed, my Mother quit her job and she and her husband moved in with my Grandparents to help take care of my her. My husband and I purchased a home in the same block to also help since my Mom was an adopted only child.

In 1993, my Grandmother's disease had progressed enough that we were afraid we couldn't properly take care of her. My Mother and Grandfather began to tour area nursing facilities to find the best home that would give her the best possible care. An area nursing facility, Sterling Heights at the time owned by Innovative Health of Kansas, claimed that they were skilled in Alzheimer's care. We toured the facility and decided that this would be the best care facility. On April 27, 1993, my Mother and Grandfather did one of the hardest things they've ever had to do in their lives. They admitted my Grandmother to this facility.

In the beginning, things were fine. My Grandmother was still mobile and able to take care of her personnel needs pretty much on her own. Everyday, my Grandfather, Mother or I visited her. Not one day ever went by that one of us did not see her at least once. I even took my 3 year old son to visit her every Saturday. He and Nannie would play with his Hot Wheels or his Legos.

In August 1993, my Mother was told by the nursing staff that my Grandmother had possibly broken her wrist. My Mom and Stepdad took her to the Doctor and sure enough, she had a broken wrist. No explanation was ever given by the nursing home. We also noticed bruises and skin tears on her on "shower days". When we asked what was going on we were told, "we don't know", or "it was shower day". As my Grandmothers condition progressed, she began having problems walking and later was having trouble walking with a walker. She was taken to the hospital, but became so confused, she was sent back to the nursing home. She never walked again. We didn't know until recently that she had suffered a broken hip in four places. Over the next year, she had many bruises and skin tears and even a broken toe, which we were told she had rolled over in her wheelchair, which didn't make sense since she couldn't roll herself.

Then came the phone call on September 16, 1994. My Mother was called and told that my Grandmother had been found rolled over into the bed rails (which again didn't make sense because she had to be turned). She was told "it wasn't necessary for her to come out". My Mother called me and then went out that evening. When she arrived my Grandmothers face was red and swollen and had ice on it. The next day when my Mother arrived at the facility, she was approached by nursing staff and told that "abuse" was suspected. She had a hand print bruise on her left cheek, a cut on her nose, a bruise where the nosepiece from her glasses had been pushed into her face. Multiple bruises to her arms, and cuts and bruises on her side. We were told by the facility that "they would take care of it. They didn't want the police or media involved". At first we agreed, mostly because we were still in shock, but later in the afternoon went to the police station and filed a report.

My Mother began looking for another facility to move Nannie to, but there wasn't any room and she was placed on waiting lists. We checked on her at all times of the day and constantly kept an eye on her. An investigation had began, but since she could not speak after the September 16 incident, no one could be identified. The State of Kansas also investigated and found that she had been physically abused.

Nothing was ever done to anyone or to the facility.

On December 27, 1994, I stopped to visit and was informed that they believed she had had a stroke that day. I called my Mom and Grandfather and we stayed by her bed around the clock so she wouldn't die alone. She passed away on January 5, 1995. We were contacted on January 6, 1995 by the police department and informed that since my Grandmother had died, the investigation was closed.

No one will ever be punished for what happened to my Grandmother.

It is still hard to believe that someone so dear and precious could be the target of such a horrible, hateful act. This was someone who lived through the depression, lost a baby, adopted a child, and was always there whenever you needed her.

I pray that if you've read this, you will take notice and do all you can to get better laws and regulations for Nursing facilities. That hiring regulations be changed so that people who work in these facilities be licensed and investigated before they are hired. Remember that even if right now, today, you don't have a loved one in a facility, someday you may have, or it may be you.

Some of the articles from the Lawrence Journal World that have been associated with this suit are listed below, unfortunately the Journal World has changed their links and these articles can no longer be viewed. If you would like a copy, please contact them or me. I have all of articles regarding this case.

  • Nursing home faces abuse suit - September 11, 1997
  • Jury award goes against Sterling Heights - September 18, 1997
  • Company finds nursing home verdict excessive - September 20, 1997
  • Caring about care - October 9, 1997
  • Southwinds (formerly Sterling Heights) facility again under KDHE scrutiny - December 14, 1997
  • KDHE punishes troubled Lawrence nursing facility -- again (formerly Sterling Heights) - January 1, 1998
  • State pressure may help nursing home to improve - January 12, 1998

Our attorney, Mr. Ruben Krisztal, limits his practice to Nursing Home Negligence/Abuse/Wrongful Death. He did a wonderful job in giving back the dignity that Innovative Health of Kansas took away from my Grandmother. We cannot say enough good things about him and appreciate all the things he has done on my family and Grandmothers behalf. You may get in touch with Mr. Krisztal at:

Ruben J. Krisztal
Attorney at Law
(913) 451-4441
(Answered 24 hours)
E-Mail: Rjknhatty@aol.com

Click above e-mail address to contact Mr. Krisztal

To view more articles regarding Nursing Home Abuse and elderly health care, please follow these links:

Nannie's Page Links

How To Get Good Care In Any Nursing Home

For more information regarding nursing home facilities in Kansas, call:

Kansas Advocates for Better Care

To contact someone regarding nursing home facilities in your area, call:

National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (in Washington)

Thank you for reading. If you would like to talk to me about this page or anything that you may have experienced similar to this, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at the address below. May God watch over and protect you and your loved ones.

The family of Garnett (Hillix) Knapp

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Date of last modification: October 17, 2002