Lawsuit to be filed against Gallatin nursing home over alleged mishandling of coronavirus

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Posted at 4:12 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 19:52:20-04

GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Neglect and intentional disregard of safety rules. Those are the allegations made against the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing.

A Coronavirus outbreak there sickened residents and employees, killing eight people, and now a lawsuit is about to be filed.

A pre-suit letter sent has been sent alerting the Gallatin facility that a wrongful death lawsuit will soon be filed, and there likely will be more to follow.

It stems from elderly patients -- many of them sick with COVID-19 -- who had to be taken from the Gallatin Center for Rehablitation and Healing last month. In all more than one hundred residents and employees tested positive, and eight have since died.

"Since this story exploded on the air I've had ten families hire our firm to represent them in the case against the Gallatin nursing home," said malpractice attorney Clint Kelly.

The letter he sent gives the facility sixty-days to respond. Then the first lawsuit will be filed on behalf of Clara Ruth Summers.

"She's not just a person who died from the nursing home with coronavirus. She was a person. And she was my mom," said Summers daughter Debbie Bolton. "My momma said she'd always says was going to live to be 100."

She died just days after turning 89.

Bolton says her mother had complained of feeling sick, but was never isolated, and Bolton was the one who insisted Ruth be taken to the hospital where she tested positive for COVID-19.

Bolton says the facility told her there was nothing to worry about. But, the next day crews in Hazmat suits began evacuating residents.

"There were a lot of safety features that were disregarded intentionally or negligently that led to this massive outbreak," said attorney Kelly.

He concedes a virus this contagious can show up most anywhere. But the questions are why and if anything was done to try to prevent it?

"Things like this do happen," said Kelly. "In this case it happened because of neglect and because of intentional disregard of safety rules."

Kelly said he'll have facts to back up the allegations when the lawsuit is filed.

We reached out to the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing for comment, but have yet to hear back. We'll update this story with any response we receive.


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