ATLANTA – A hidden video from 2014 showed nurses laughing as a World War II veteran repeatedly called for help and died while in their care, reported 11 Alive WXIA-TV.
The family of James Dempsey, 89, of Woodstock, Ga., hid a camera in the late veteran’s room in the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center, which captured the night he died.
The video showed the decorated WWII veteran repeatedly calling for help, saying he could not breathe. Moreover, it showed the nurses failing to take lifesaving measures and laughing as they tried to start an oxygen machine.
— 11Alive News (@11AliveNews) November 16, 2017
As a result, Dempsey’s family sued the nursing home in 2014 following the veteran’s death. Dempsey’s family declined to comment on the video, citing a settlement with the nursing home, 11 Alive reported.
Furthermore, attorneys representing the nursing home tried to stop WXIA-TV from obtaining the video. However, a DeKalb County Judge ruled to unseal the footage.
The nurses, including a nursing supervisor, Wanda Nuckles, told Dempsey’s family lawyers in the deposition that when she learned the veteran had stopped breathing, she rushed to his room and took over CPR, keeping it up until paramedics arrived, WXIA-TV reported.
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Yet the secret video showed a different story. No one was performing CPR when she arrived, and she did not start immediately. After the attorneys showed Nuckles the video, she told them it was an honest mistake, based on her normal reactions.
When the attorney’s asked what Nuckles was laughing about, she said she did not remember.
WXIA-TV reported the nursing home was told of the video in 2015 but did not terminate the nurses until 10 months later. Nuckles and another nurse did not surrender their licenses until this September when the Georgia Board of Nursing was sent a link to the video by the news station.
Elaine Harris is a retired nursing professor and expert in adult critical care. She said the video made her nauseated. “In 43 years of nursing, I have never seen such disregard for human life in a health care setting.”
The health care facility declined an interview by 11 Alive, but sent a letter that said in part, “… saddened by the events, which occurred more than 3 years ago …” but they are under “new leadership.” Furthermore, a 2017 state inspection found it was “deficiency free.”
Records showed the nursing home continued to have problems, including $813,000 in Medicare fines since 2015, WXIA-TV reported. It said the nursing home received a good inspection report in May, but still has Medicare’s lowest score, a one-star rating.
(Photo: Screenshot YouTube video)