Women Draw Attention To Vets Home Conditions - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NC5 Investigates: Veterans Home

Women Draw Attention To Vets Home Conditions

Debbie Compton and Karla Henry Debbie Compton and Karla Henry

Red, white and blue filled the streets of downtown Nashville today as the annual Veterans' Day parade made its way down Broadway -- and hundreds of people lined the street.

Two women at that parade were there though not only to honor veterans, but to call attention to the problems at the Tennessee State Veterans Home, problems first exposed in a NewsChannel 5 investigation. 

Investigative reporter Jennifer Kraus first spoke with these women a year and a half ago, and she discovered they're upset nothing has changed at the home.

Just three weeks ago, inspectors again found more critical violations at the state run nursing home that put patients lives in danger. And these two women say enough is enough.

On the day many paused to honor our nation's veterans, Debbie Compton and Karla Henry say Tennessee isn't doing enough to care for those who have served.

Compton says, "It's a disgrace. It shouldn't be like this."

Like the men and women being recognized at the parade who fought in battles long ago, Compton and Henry have been waging their own war for better conditions at the Tennessee State Veterans Home in Murfreesboro because they say veterans deserve much better than they've been getting.

Compton says, "They risked their lives when they were asked to. They served our country. We need to serve them in a proper way, in a human way. And, it's not happening."

Compton's father-in-law and Henry's father both lived at the home and a year and a half ago, these women first spoke out about the neglect and deplorable conditions they'd seen.

Back last year, Henry told us of one of her visits to the home, "Daddy hadn't been washed. He hadn't been turned. His wound dressings had not been changed."

And also last year, Compton talked with NewsChannel 5 about visiting her father-in-law at the nursing home saying, "Every time I went in, there was feces under his finger nails, on his hands."

And things today, they say, are no better.

In fact, three weeks ago, inspectors cited the home for failing to stop fights and protect residents from attacks. One veteran was found with razor blades and saidhe would cut the throat of anyone who made him mad.

Karla Henry is frustrated and says, "They've had every opportunity, ample time to change things and yet still, still it's happening. Something's got to change."

The women say their veterans died needlessly because of the way they were treated at the nursing home. But others, they say, don't have to.

And Compton and Henry vow to keep up their fight because they say veterans deserve respect and honor, even when it's not Veterans Day.

After the veterans home failed its inspection three weeks ago, the federal government threatened to stop providing Medicare funding to the facility.

The veterans home has until Thursday to make serious improvements.

If that doesn't happen, dozens of veterans will likely be forced to find another home, something these women say shouldn't happen to men and women who have already given so much.

The women are now calling on Gov. Phil Bredesen to make sure that doesn't happen.

He's repeatedly said in the past that he was working to fix the problems.

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