Lawmakers Hear From Nursing Home Board About Neglect - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: Veterans Home

Lawmakers Hear From Nursing Home Board About Neglect

(Story created: 7/26/06)

Lawmakers demanded assurances Wednesday from officials at the state-run veterans' nursing home in Murfreesboro that there would be no repeat of the abuses first uncovered by NewsChannel 5.

State lawmakers were upset about how some of the residents have been treated at the Tennessee State Veterans Home.

Last month, families - including the family of Dave Lawson - shared their frustrations and concerns about the care they received at the state-run facility.

Lawson experienced severe bed sores that got infected with maggots.

Lawmakers demanded answers and explanations from the people who run the veterans home.

"I will not tell you that incidents of abuse and neglect have never occurred and never will occur. I will tell you we have clear policies in place designed to prevent abuse and neglect," said Rod Wolfe, who heads the Tennessee State Veterans Home Board.

The executive director admitted though mistakes had been made, but blamed Lawson's maggots on the fact he liked to spend time outside with other residents.

"The clinic's staff feels that the maggots could have been acquired while Mr. Lawson was outside socializing," Wolfe said.

Lawson's daughter didn't like what she heard.

"It just upset me the way the put the entire responsibility on my father for his condition," Karla Henry said.

Lawmakers were visibly upset, as well.

"I don't believe in my mind I'll ever be convinced that a fly or some other insect got inside of a dressing and laid eggs and then left and then those maggots hatched out. That wound, at some time or another, had to be left open," said Rep. Charles Curtiss, D-Sparta.

Sen. Thelma Harper, D-Nashville, added, "That's something that you can't excuse yourself out of."

Last month, the state health department sent in inspectors to do an inspection, and they found 29 violations. Nine of those violations were so serious, inspectors that they put patients' lives in jeopardy.

Wednesday, the state health department and the head of the nursing home board told state lawmakers that the problems have been fixed.

The home brought in residents and families to testify and tell state lawmaker that they were happy with the way they have been treated at the nursing home.

Officials at the nursing home said they'll look at the problems to see if they need to restructure management to prevent abuses from happening again.

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