A family suing a New Jersey nursing home says their loved one died as a result of negligence at the facility.
And among their allegations is a claim that a staff member at Cumberland Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center performed a "simulated lap dance” on the 84-year-old man.
Fred Pittman was a long-term care patient at the facility, located in Hopewell Township, Cumberland County, from late January through mid-February 2018. He died on March 2 of that year.
During his time at Cumberland Manor, staffers failed to prevent and treat injuries, manage pain, comply with physician orders and provide adequate food and hydration, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in state Superior Court.
An official with Cumberland Manor said the allegations were already investigated.
“The complaints of this particular family have been investigated by regulators and found to be unsubstantiated,” said administrator Steve Brodt. “We will defend any litigation as appropriate and will have no further comments.”
Pittman suffered from malnutrition, dehydration, sepsis, bedsores and weight loss, his family alleges.
“His medical condition degraded quite rapidly within that building,” according to the family’s attorney, David R. Cohen, of Cohen Kolodny Abuse Analytics Law LCC.
Pittman was transferred from the facility to a hospital for treatment.
The plaintiffs have sought copies of medical charts, nursing records, nurse aides’ records and incident reports relating to Pittman’s stay at Cumberland Manor.
The suit also accuses facility operators of abusing Pittman, "by (among multiple other actions] allowing a staff member to sit on decedent’s lap (and/or knee) and performing a simulated lap-dance, and/or acted in such a fashion to otherwise embarrass and humiliate decedent.”
That claim was investigated by the state, Cohen confirmed.
“The state did not substantiate the complaint,” he said. “The family is very firm in their belief that it did in fact happen. It’s depraved if it did happen.”
Cohen said that nursing homes like Cumberland Manor receive substantial sums of taxpayer dollars to care for residents.
"Their whole job is to take care of people who cannot take care of themselves,” he said. "They’re supposed to keep people safe and keep people fed and hydrated. And they get paid a ton of money to do that.”
The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the privately-owned facility.
Cumberland Manor was owned by Cumberland County for more than 60 years, but was sold to a private operator in 2012. It’s currently owned by Cumberland Operations LLC.
Cohen said when families file lawsuits like these, their primary goal is to save others from similar situations and make nursing homes accountable.
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Nursing home worker ‘simulated lap dance’ on 84-year-old, family says in wrongful death suit