POMPANO BEACH, Fla. - More and more family members are placing hidden cameras inside rooms to monitor the quality of care of their loved ones at nursing homes.
Local 10 News obtained disturbing images of
what can happen inside the walls of a nursing home. There is renewed
debate over the issue following the deaths of 13 people from a nursing
facility in Hollywood during Hurricane Irma.
Video recorded inside a Pompano Beach room of a 94-year-old man with dementia who is unable to speak are cringe-worthy.
It shows a certified nursing assistant
forcefully trying to get the man off the bed. She sends him free-falling
into a chair and then hits him on the head.
In another clip, the nursing assistant is seen dousing him with mouthwash.
"Mouthwash has alcohol in it. Guess what?
He's going to end up with ulcers and bedsores from dried out skin, and
that's exactly what happened to this man when he had stage three
ulcers, that ultimately proved to be fatal," Blake Dolman, who
represented the man's family in a lawsuit against the nursing home,
The hidden camera was placed in the elderly man's room by a concerned daughter, who said it caught her worst fears.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time, the nursing home says, 'No, that didn't happen,'" Dolman said.
The video in that case was so valuable, Dolman said, because it made what happened unquestionable.
"It saved the judicial system time," Dolman said. "It saved the attorneys time."
A hidden camera video taken inside a South
Florida nursing home shows a worker sleeping as an alarm indicating
something is wrong in a patient's room is clearly blaring.
In another hidden camera video, a patient's
breathing tube appears to be removed by a nursing assistant. She appears
to do nothing, despite alarms going off. She even reenters the room
again after leaving. Five minutes go by until another employee comes
in and sees the tube is disconnected.
That nursing assistant claims she knew nothing about what happened, even though the video shows otherwise.
Could cameras have alerted someone to do something faster in Hollywood after Hurricane Irma?
Six states -- Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington -- allow the use of video monitoring.
"I believe that the state of Florida require
that residents be presented with the option or the right to have
cameras in their rooms," Dolman said.
Attorney Don Fann has spent more than 20 years representing and defending nursing homes.
"I know how nursing homes operate from the inside out," Fann said.
Fann now uses his expertise to sue them.
"The staff didn't want to be observed," he said. "They didn't want to have that pressure, and that is ridiculous."
In 2012, a bill in the Florida Legislature that would allow the use of cameras died in committee.
"If they're not doing anything wrong, why be against the camera?" Dolman said.
The Florida Health Care Association, which represents 550 of the state's 683 nursing homes, is against cameras.
Local 10 News asked and had several interviews set up with some of its members. They were all canceled.
"The use of surveillance cameras carries a
number of challenges, and we must remember that cameras observe, they do
not protect," association spokeswoman Kristen Knapp said in a statement
to Local 10 News. "Cameras provide access to footage of residents in
their most intimate moments. Even if proper consent is obtained by one
resident, the issue becomes complicated when there are roommates
Several state legislators said they
are researching the issue, but at this point, no bills have been filed
for the upcoming legislative session.
The state of Florida revoked the license of
the the certified nursing assistant who was accused of abusing the
94-year-old man. Family members said they didn't want to pursue criminal
charges against her.
Full Article & Source:
Hidden cameras show apparent abuse inside South Florida nursing homes