As a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney, I often hear complaints and problems from family members about the neglect suffered by their loved one.  One of the key reasons many do not file grievances; complain to regulatory agencies; or file a lawsuit; is because of fear of retaliation and not being able to see their loved one.  Well, that is exactly what appears to be happening to T.J. Sarrington.

Sarrington was banned from seeing her elderly mother at a nursing home out of retaliation for reporting abuse. In 2018, Sarrington filed a complaint with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, alleging neglect and abuse at Meadowlake Estates nursing home in Oklahoma City.  When the findings of the report were published and substantiated her claims, she called the administrator to get answers. That’s when he told her not to come to the property, or she would be arrested. That day, Sarrington said she was escorted off the property by Oklahoma City police for trespassing. In the months since she was first removed, Sarrington said she missed what may be her mother’s last birthday and last mother’s day.

Among 25 violations, the OSDH found the nursing home committed violations against Sarrington’s mother and two other residents, and failed to “honor the resident’s right to a dignified existence, self-determination, communication, and to exercise his or her rights.”
 “I begged him to please let me see my mom. I begged. I swallowed every inch of pride that I had, and I begged,” Sarrington said. “He told me if I showed up, I would be arrested for trespassing.”  Her mother thought her daughter was dead after going weeks without seeing her.

After seeking legal advice from advocates for nursing home reform, Sarrington said she returned to the home over the weekend, armed with a 2013 law saying, “every resident shall have the right to… meetings of family… or any other person or persons of the resident’s choice…”

 The operator in charge of the home again called 911 telling dispatch, “I have a trespasser that’s been advised that she is not allows on our property.”
Sarrington said the responding officer called a supervisor after she said she had a right to see her mother. The supervisor agreed and the officer walked her back to see her mother for the first time in four months.

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