Nursing Home Resident Dies During Altercation with His Roommate

 Authorities are continuing to investigate the death of a mentally ill resident of one nursing home last week. The male resident, 57, died Thursday after an altercation with his roommate. Facility staff found the resident on the floor, unconscious and in cardiac arrest, on top of his 55-year-old roommate.

 The man's roommate was taken to the hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, according to a law-enforcement source. The roommate was interviewed by detectives but has not been charged with any crime. Authorities said the coroner's investigation could take several weeks and is considered part of an ongoing criminal probe.

 The incident is the latest case of violence in nursing homes that admit high numbers of psychiatric patients, including many with violent criminal records. A recent investigation by the Chicago tribune documented numerous cases of assault, rape and even murder at such facilities.

The resident, who stood six feet tall and weighed more than 240 pounds, had surface bruising but no internal injuries from the altercation. He had a long history of mental illness and arrests relating to threats against family members. ltercation

The facility -- which houses 26 felons among its 98 residents, according to the most recent state Department of Public Health data -- was recently given a "well below average" rating by federal health authorities for overall quality. This is the lowest possible rating a home can be given. For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.