Video shows nursing home staff laughing as patient died gasping for air

Recently released footage reveals nursing home staff in Georgia laughed as a World War II veteran called for help numerous times, gasped for air and died, according to WXIA.

The incident, which led to the death of 89-year-old James Dempsey, occurred at Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation in 2014. WXIA obtained the hidden camera video after it was released as part of a lawsuit filed by Mr. Dempsey's family.

The video shows Mr. Dempsey "calling for help six times before he goes unconscious while gasping for air," according to WXIA. The footage also details numerous care lapses that occurred after he stopped breathing. Staff members failed to consistently perform CPR on Mr. Dempsey, and another nurse failed to check the veteran's vital signs. Other staff laughed when nurses faced challenges getting Mr. Dempsey's oxygen machine operational. Additionally, WXIA cites state records indicating about an hour gap between when nursing home staff found the patient unresponsive and when they called 911.

Mr. Dempsey's family declined a TV interview due to a settlement agreement reached with Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation.

The nursing home operators, owned by Sava Senior Care, also declined a TV interview but told WXIA they were "saddened by the events, which occurred more than three years ago." They also noted the facility has "new leadership, and the leadership team and the staff have worked very diligently to improve quality care and the quality of life for our residents ... The facility recently was deficiency-free during our recent annual inspection conducted by the Georgia Department of Health on May 25, 2017."

The nursing home eventually fired the nurses involved in the incident. The facility is still open, but has a one-star rating from Medicare.


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