WNBC.com had a story about how a nursing home lied to a resident’s family regarding her death at the facility. This typeof cover up oftens happens in nursing homes. The staff is typically the only ones who really know what happened to a resident. The staff are worried about their job or are instructed by their corporate masters to mislead or cover up the neglect and abuse.
Olive Chase was 94 when she died at Sunrise at Fleetwood, an expensive assisted-living home in Mount Vernon, in February 2007. The nursing home told Chase’s son that she had died in her sleep. The nursing home created an elaborate story that his mother had breakfast, was left alone at one point, and the aide returned to find she had died peacefully in her sleep. The staff said Chase was sleeping at 7:30 a.m., but was "unresponsive" four hours later. Days after Chase was cremated, however, her family got a tip from someone with second hand knowledge of her death that the woman did not die peacefully.
Bob Chase, son of the woman who died, spoke with some of the staff and to the source who was the first nurse on the scene after his mother’s death. The nurse saw Olive’s head caught between the bars of her hospital bed with her feet hanging off the side. The nurse said it appeared as if she struggled and then died of strangulation.
"Her tongue was protruding. It was purple," the nurse said.
The nurse said one of the maintenance workers then lifted Olive’s legs while she held onto one of her shoulders.
"We brought her up, laid her flat on her bed," said the nurse. "I brushed her hair. This nursing coordinator told us, ‘Don’t say anything.’"
The nurse said the last person to treat Olive for a bedsore raised the bed for the treatment but did not lower it after, despite instructions to do so. Olive was known to wander, the nurse said.
"We had a sign on the top of the bed, readily visible, stating to lower the bed at its lowest level when finishing care," the nurse said.
An anonymous call to the state Department of Health days after Olive’s death reported that the woman appeared to have died of asphyxiation after her head was caught in the bars, which triggered an investigation. The department concluded the caller’s complaint was valid. The department found that Olive’s body had been rearranged after her death, but it was not reported that way in Sunrise’s records.