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Shocking Elder Abuse Case: Waterboarding of Elderly Woman in Georgia Nursing Home

February 21, 2012

The practice of waterboarding has been the subject of widespread dispute leading the Obama administration to ban the interrogation method in 2009 on the grounds that it constituted torture in violation of the Geneva Convention.

A number of GOP candidates have recently criticized the Obama administration advocating renewed use of waterboarding as an effective interrogation technique to obtain critical information from suspected terrorists.

No matter what your opinion might be regarding the merits of employing waterboarding against suspected terrorists, it is unlikely that there are many who would support this tactic against an elderly victim in a nursing home. Nonetheless, two Georgia nursing home employees were recently arrested for an alleged physical assault on an elderly nursing home resident that has been characterized as being similar to waterboarding.

Waterboarding is an interrogation technique previously employed by the CIA to extract information from prisoners. However, the two nursing home employees that were arrested used the technique to torture an 89-year-old woman because she argued with them. The two nursing home employees allegedly held Anna Foley down in the shower and sprayed water in her face to simulate the sensation of drowning. Both employees have been charged with false imprisonment and battery on a patient.

While this incident seems despicable, serious forms of physical abuse of the elderly are far more common than anyone with a loved one in a nursing home wants to believe. Ms. Foley was suffering from severe dementia. Because many senior victims of elder abuse suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s, they often are unable to understand what is happening to them or have difficulty communicating with others about their victimization.

While it is reasonable to wonder what would cause nursing home staff to act in such an abusive manner, fatigue and lack of staffing are frequently blamed for such incidents in nursing home facilities. One study found that forty percent of all nursing home staff members admit to committing physical abuse against a resident with the vast majority blaming the abuse on understaffing in the nursing home facility. Although the fact that many nursing home employees may be overworked is not a true justification for elder abuse, nursing homes are culpable in allowing such behavior to occur because the relationship between staffing levels, employee fatigue and elder abuse are well documented.

While nursing home abuse may also occur at the hands of another resident, it typically is inflicted by nursing home staff charged with caring for elderly residents. If your loved one is in a Georgia nursing home, you should visit regularly and be alert for physical signs or symptoms of abuse which may include the following: unexplained bruises, burns, fractures, scratches, depression, fear, sprains, welts, bites or other physical indications of injury or manhandling.

If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, our Georgia nursing home abuse attorneys are committed to seeking protection and compensation for elder abuse victims. At Montlick and Associates, our Georgia nursing home attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.