It’s one of the worst nightmares that can ever come true: the people tasked with caring for your elderly parents end up abusing and neglecting them—to the point of death.
Sickening new footage has surfaced of nursing home workers at the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center doubled over laughing as an 89-year-old World War 2 veteran slowly dies. (scroll down for video)
The video—finally released after a many-year-long legal battle to keep it private and protect the company’s reputation—was publicized after a local NBC news affiliate persuaded the court to have it released.
And, adding a cruel irony to an already tragic story, the footage was captured by a hidden camera that the elderly veteran, James Dempsey, had requested his son install for fear of being mistreated—his worst nightmare came true and we’re all finally learning the truth, as if he’s speaking from the grave.
It all began in the early hours of the morning when Dempsey calls for help multiple times, insisting he can’t breathe.
In addition, he presses a button that’s designed to notify nurses to help him, but he remains completely isolated and finally seems to lose consciousness.
The video, which was played in court by the family’s lawyer, Mike Prieto, as he questioned one of the nurses, Wanda Nuckles, reveals just how neglectful the staff was.
As reported by The Daily Mail:
“A nurse does not appear until 4.42am, at which point she readjusts the bed, turns off the call light, and leaves, as Dempsey struggles for air.
“Prieto asks Nuckles if that is an acceptable period of time, to which she responds ‘nope’. He asks if Dempsey appears to be gasping for air, to which she responds, ‘yep’.
“‘How does it make you feel watching this video?’ the lawyer asks. ‘Sick,’ Nuckles replies.
“The video then cuts to 6.23pm, when Nuckles and another nurse enter the room. They fix his blanket and adjust his bed as Dempsey lies motionless.
“Prieto says to Nuckles: ‘Contrary to the way you testified previously, there’s no one doing CPR, is there?’ Nuckles replies: ‘No.’
“They watch on. Another nurse enters, and all three stand around the bed talking.
“At 6.30pm, as they try unsuccessfully to restart the oxygen machine and Dempsey takes his final breaths, the three appear to be laughing – with one of the nurses doubled over laughing.
“In the courtroom, Prieto stops the tape and asks Nuckles: ‘Ma’am was there something funny happening at 6.30am on February 27, 2014 in the middle of this attempt to resuscitate Mr Dempsey?’
“Nuckles replies: ‘I have no clue sir, I have no clue. I can’t even remember all that, as you can see.’”
At this point, Prieto asks her if she can see any sense of urgency among the staff members “tending” to Dempsey, to which Nuckles replies, “I think I was doing pretty good considering I didn’t have anything good to work with.”
The cavalier tone of her responses may very well reflect the overall attitude of the nursing home, which actually has a 1-star Medicare review.
As the video continues, Nuckles performs 6 chest pumps on Dempsey’s motionless body, but not CPR, which contradicts her original claims.
The Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center reportedly has $813,000 in medical fines.
Dempsey’s family now live with the horror of what truly happened after believing he’d died of natural causes.
Tim, James’ son, had decided to review the footage a few weeks after his father’s passing, only to be left in “shock” and “dismay.”
“We would have just thought it was natural causes and everything was done that should have been done and he passed away in his sleep,” said Tim in an interview with Channel 2.
You Can Watch The Tragic Nursing Home Footage Here: