SBPDL NOTE: It’s coming! Because We Live Here: The Paul Kersey Anthology! Secure your signed copy by contacting us at [email protected] A $25 donation gets you a signed copy! For a donation of $300, you get signed copies of ALL books published by Paul Kersey.
Do you have a loved one currently living in a retirement home or nursing home facility? Were they a participant in World War II, a soldier sent to fight in the European or Japanese theater to protect our freedom?
Did they live a long,solid life surrounded by family and friend, only to find their last few years on earth in a tiny room with only a few pictures from their past to remind them of who they once were?
This is something I try not to think about, because my beloved grandparents reached a stage of their respective lives where they could no longer maintain the home they shared for 40+ years and each had to go into a retirement facility.
Which is why this story of how black nurses in metro Atlanta treated a World War II veteran, particularly in his final moments on earth, hits so close to home (as it will for many of you reading this piece).
The indifference andapathy they had to his cries of pain is only drowned out by their laughter.[Hidden camera tells true story of how veteran died after calling for help, gasping for air:The video shows the decorated World War II veteran calling for help six times before he goes unconscious while gasping for air., 11 Alive (NBC) Atlanta, 11-14-17]:
An 11Alive investigation uncovered hidden camera video catching nursing home staff laughing while an elderly patient dies in front of them. The incident happened at the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation in 2014, but the video was recently released as part of a lawsuit filed by the family.
Attorneys representing the Atlanta nursing home tried to prevent 11Alive from obtaining the video. They asked a DeKalb County judge to keep the video sealed and then attempted to appeal to the Georgia State Supreme Court. The judge ruled in favor of 11Alive and the nursing home eventually dropped its appeal to the state’s highest court.
The video includes almost six hours of video court deposition from a nursing supervisor explaining how she responded to the patient before she knew the hidden camera video existed. The video shows a completely different response.
The deceased patient is 89-year-old James Dempsey, a decorated World War II veteran from Woodstock, Georgia.
In the video deposition, former nursing supervisor Wanda Nuckles tells the family’s attorney, Mike Prieto, how she rushed to Dempsey’s room when a nurse alerted her he had stopped breathing.
Prieto: “From the time you came in, you took over doing chest compressions…correct?”
Nuckles : “Yes.”
Prieto: “Until the time paramedics arrive, you were giving CPR continuously?”
Nuckles : “Yes.”
The video, however, shows no one doing CPR when Nuckles entered the room. She also did not immediately start doing CPR.
“Sir, that was an honest mistake,” said Nuckles in the deposition. “I was just basing everything on what I normally do.”
Watch the extended deposition here where her story changes after watching the hidden video.
The video shows the veteran calling for help six times before he goes unconscious while gasping for air. State records show nursing home staff found Dempsey unresponsive at 5:28 am. It took almost an hour for the staff to call 911 at 6:25a.m.
When a different nurse does respond, she fails to check any of his vital signs. Nuckles says she would have reprimanded the nurse for the way she responded to Dempsey. She called the video “sick.”
When nurses had difficulty getting Dempsey’s oxygen machine operational during, you can hear Nuckles and others laughing.
Prieto: “Ma’am, was there something funny that was happening?”
Nuckles : “I can’t even remember all that as you can see.”
11Alive showed the video to Elaine Harris, a retired nursing professor and expert in adult critical care. “In 43 years in nursing, I have never seen such disregard for human life in a healthcare setting, is what I witnessed,” said Harris.
Harris says she identified several violations of care in the video, including failure to respond, failure to assess and failure to act.
In the video, nursing staff repeatedly start and stop doing CPR on Dempsey. Harris says once you start doing CPR, it should not be stopped until a doctor makes the decision not to resuscitate.
“That is absolutely inappropriate. You never stop compressions,” said Harris.
Dempsey’s family declined to be interviewed due to a settlement agreement recently reached with the nursing home.
The nursing home operators, owned by Sava Senior Care, declined interview requests. In a prepared statement, a spokesperson wrote they were “saddened by the events, which occurred more than three years ago.”
The letter also notes it has “new leadership and the leadership team and the staff have worked very diligently to improve quality care and the quality of life for our residents….The facility recently was deficiency-free during our recent annual inspection conducted by the Georgia Department of Health on May 25, 2017.”
The nursing facility was made aware of the video in November 2015, but according to state inspection reports, the nursing home did not fire the nurses until 10 months later.
Reading these type of stories is incredibly difficult, when you consider the life a man like James Dempsey led and the horror of the last few moments of his existence.
White America, this is your future.