Tulsa World had an article about a nursing home employee who reported neglect and abuse at a nursing home, and was subsequently fired from her job despite her affirmative duty to report such incidents.  This is outrageous.  This employee did exactly what she was supposed to do and the nursing home fired her for it.  She is now suing Cimarron Pointe Care Center and one of its contractors for wrongful termination.  Is it any wonder why many nurses look the other way when residents are abused and neglected?

In the lawsuit, Harris said she worked as a housekeeper at the facility. She was paid by Health Care Services Group, a Tulsa company contracted by the home to provide cleaning services, and supervised by nursing home staff.   During her employment, she observed numerous instances of improper care of the home’s residents.

"Mrs. Harris observed a male resident who had been left in his own waste for so many hours that he had feces caked on to his leg from his hip to below his knee, and had wet himself at least one time."   She saw the man sitting in his waste and reported it to her supervisor, the head nurse and two nurse’s aides. Her supervisor sprayed deodorant in the man’s room to cover the smell. The aides said they would leave him for the next shift.

"Two and a half hours later, he was still sitting in his own waste," Harris said. "He couldn’t say nothing. I would always talk to him. He would just light up when I went to clean his room. It’s heartbreaking when you see a resident not being taken care of."

Also, an elderly woman paralyzed from the waist down was left in her own waste, Harris said. She rolled out of the bed and into the hallway to get someone to change her soiled garments and the nurses "just laughed at her," Harris said.

"On another occasion, Ms. Harris brought the needs of another female resident to the attention of the nursing staff. The resident’s needs were ignored, prompting the resident to write a letter to her family saying goodbye, in anticipation of death from neglect," the petition states.

Another female resident, who was unable to sit up alone, was left on a bench in the shower. She fell and hurt herself, the petition said.

Harris reported each instance of neglect or abuse to the facility’s staff.  The home’s administrator and a supervisor from Health Care Services Group of Tulsa, the contractor that paid Harris, fired her.   Of course, Cimarron Pointe Care Center denies any improper care of its residents. It also states that Harris was employed by Health Care Services Group, so the nursing home isn’t responsible for her termination.   However, Ms. Harris was told that the only basis for her termination was her reporting of the abuse.  Ms. Harris had not done anything else to merit termination, and no other basis for termination were discussed or even suggested."

 

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