California Nursing Home Closed After Abuse Caught on “Grannycam”

Stories of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/nursing_home_negligence">nursing home abuse are devastating and, it seems as if we are reporting on them with increasing frequency. Sadly, another shocking case of nursing home abuse is making headlines again, this time in Fair Oaks, California.

Sean Suh installed a so-called “Grannycam” beside his grandmother’s bed just after she was moved into residential care, said the Sacramento Bee. Suh wanted to ensure that staff was aware that his grandmother, Kyong Hui Duncan, was being watched and that her family cared for her. Duncan, said the Bee, could no longer live on her own; the decision was a difficult one and, sadly, it was while Suh was looking for another facility that his grandmother, 73, died from a variety of problems Suh says were a direct result of abuse she suffered at Fair Oaks Residential Elderly Care.

Suh found the granny-cam unplugged on a number of his visits to his grandmother—one of the reasons the family was seeking a new facility; however, a short video was recorded in which staff is seen “violently shaking” Duncan while in her wheelchair, said the Bee. That clip has become an integral part of California’s decision to shut down Fair Oaks and in the civil lawsuit filed by Duncan’s family in which abuse, neglect, and wrongful death are alleged. “I have nightmares about it,” Suh said of the videotape. “It’s very hard for me to function, knowing she went through that,” quoted the Bee.

According to Suh, he chose the facility after explaining to its administration that he would be installing the camera, “I wanted to let them know I would be making sure that my grandmother got the utmost care and had the highest quality of life,” quoted the Bee.

When his grandmother began presenting with gashes and bruises and was apparently “drugged,” Suh sought a new home. “I found a new place, and then I got the call that she had passed away. I guess I was just a couple of days too late,” quoted the Bee.

An investigation was prompted by Suh’s complaint and led to the California Department of Social Services ordering Myung S. and Jay J. Kim, the facility’s operators, to shut down Thursday, said the Bee. California is seeking permanent revocation of the home’s license, added the Bee. The 15 residents at the facility were placed by day’s end.

The Kim’s dispute all of the allegations. Regardless, California’s suspension order accuses Fair Oaks of “violating the personal rights of residents,” and involves the video in which a staff member moved Duncan to her wheelchair, then “dumped” the chair—while Duncan was in it—backward while shaking the wheelchair, the Bee reported. Other allegations include that staff did not appropriately restrain Duncan and neglected to respond to her in a timely manner after she had fallen, said the Bee. The family also alleges that they found Duncan crying, unattended and upside down in her wheelchair, said the state, wrote the Bee. There were also occasions in which Duncan suffered from bruises and untreated infections.

Her autopsy report revealed potentially toxic narcotic levels, with at least one drug never prescribed by her physician, said the Bee, citing the report. The lawsuit charges that a variety of factors contributed to Duncan’s death, said the Bee, including injuries, infections, and “lethal doses of drugs.” Other accusations against the facility include fire code violations, inappropriate disposal of contaminated needles, forging prescriptions, and using expired prescription medications, the Bee reported.

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