SANDUSKY, Ohio, Nov. 6, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Maxim Healthcare, a national for-profit home healthcare company, has been sued in connection with the starvation death of a disabled child and the severe malnourishment of his disabled siblings. The lawsuit, filed in the Erie County Common Pleas Court in Sandusky, Ohio, also names the family's pediatrician, the Erie County Department of Jobs and Family Services, the Erie County Board of Developmental Disability, and the children's parents and grandmother.
"Maxim was paid by Ohio Medicaid to provide home nursing care to these medically-fragile children," said attorney Jack Landskroner. "They knew this was a highly dysfunctional family and shockingly, the nurse they selected to provide services in the family's home was the children's grandmother, Deborah Nelson. In essence, she took tax payer money to care for her own grandkids."
Nelson, along with the children's parents Adrianne Bartholomew and James Brothers, are currently serving prison terms related to the death of 18-month old Isaac Brothers Bartholomew and the neglect of his four brothers. Isaac weighed just 12.2 pounds at the time of his death on November 6, 2012. Three of his brothers, between the ages of 6 and 8, weighed less than 25 pounds. A fifth boy, nearly three years old, weighed just 18 pounds. "The four surviving disabled boys were found covered in feces and vomit and were malnourished to the point of being near death. They looked like concentration camp survivors," said Landskroner. "You would have to have been blind to have missed the neglect," he added.
Brothers and Bartholomew's had seven children together: six boys and a girl. Five of the six boys (including Isaac) share a genetic condition which confines them to wheelchairs, prevents them from speaking, renders them incapable of independently bathing or toileting, and impaired their ability to swallow. The lawsuit alleges the parents and Nelson delegated the overwhelming responsibility to feed at least three of the boys to their 11-year old brother, while they ran errands or slept.
The complaint also alleges Maxim billed for services that Nelson did not actually provide. In 2011 Maxim entered into a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice, paying $150 Million to resolve similar claims arising from an investigation that revealed that Maxim, as a common practice, had submitted false bills to government health care programs in 43 states for services not rendered.
The lawsuit, brought by the Cleveland law firm Landskroner Grieco Merriman, states that numerous complaints had been made raising concerns about suspected neglect of these children prior to the death of Isaac. Erie County deemed these complaints unworthy of investigation despite the fact that the children had been placed under protective supervision by Cuyahoga County Children's Services in 2007 after claims of medical neglect were substantiated while the family lived in that County. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services later found the Erie County Family Services to be non-compliant with the state's administrative code for not investigating and for inappropriately closing an investigation into this family.
"This tragedy reflects a complete breakdown by all the care providers involved as well as the systems that were supposed to protect these kids," said Jack Landskroner. "Five children were starved while trained professionals including nurses, doctors and social workers looked on until a child finally died….and then they took notice. The death of this child should never have happened. You might see this type of tragedy in third world counties but not in America in the 21st Century. This case is designed not only to address this wrongdoing but to shape future conduct so this never happens again," added Landskroner.
Contact: Jack Landskroner: Jack@lgmlegal.com
A copy of the complaint can be found at www.lgmlegal.com