The Grand Rapids Press had a story about the tragic incident involving Matthew Ambrose. On Sept. 12, Matthew Ambrose perched at the edge of his bed at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.  Staff knew Ambrose was a high risk for falls because he suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, has a poor sense of balance and could not be left unattended when he was in a position where he could fall.

A privately contracted nurses aide sat the World War II veteran on the side of his bed and left the room to retrieve a lift apparatus to transport him from his bed into a wheelchair. When she returned, Ambrose was on the floor with his neck broken.  "The Ambrose lawsuit claims the contracted nurses aide should have known Ambrose was a risk to leave alone. According to the suit, Ambrose has dementia, Parkinson’s disease and "a history of falling," worsened by prescription medications that make him "even more prone to falling." Ambrose now resides in a Grand Rapids nursing home, where Eskola visits him virtually every day. After his fall, Eskola said, her father had surgery at Metro Health Hospital in which a surgeon inserted a metal screw to stabilize a neck bone broken by the fall."

His daughter, Janice Eskola, believes her father’s fall represents more than one unfortunate incident at the home. It is about putting budget priorities ahead of the welfare of men and women who served their country. "State officials insist budget pressures afford them little choice but to trim expenses because of a $4.2 million cut in state funds to the home and stalled plans to replace 170 union nurses aides with non-union contract workers. "

Gov. Rick Snyder intends to extend privatization in the 2012 budget for the home, at an estimated savings of up to $5.8 million a year. State funds to the home were cut by $4.2 million in anticipation of that move.