A nursing home located in Austin, Texas, has been sued by an elderly resident who says an employee at the facility posted videos on the internet that show a person smearing “feces on her body and face.” The family of Mary McCaughan, who is 83 years old, filed the lawsuit in Travis County State District Court against Regency IHS of Windsor Duval, LLC and Regency Integrated Health Services, LLC. The woman and her son are asking a judge to award damages for bodily damages suffered by the resident.
The lawsuit says Carlos Alberto Santa Cruz, a certified nurse aide at Windsor Nursing and Rehabilitation Services of Duval, is “a despicable human being who proved himself to be someone who has no business caring for another helpless and defenseless human being.” The aide allegedly photographed the woman’s naked body and posted video on Snapchat showing a person smearing feces on her. A Snapchat photo shows a person tickling the woman’s nose to make her touch her face with her hand.
McCaughan’s son says that his mother has advanced Alzheimer’s disease and can barely move, talk or comprehend what is going on. The nursing home never should have hired Cruz, the lawsuit says, because he has an arrest history for fraud, marijuana possession and criminal mischief. But his hiring was not the only misstep, the lawsuit says. Rather than notify authorities, it’s alleged the nursing home “lied, denied and covered up the abuse.”
State authorities concluded an initial investigation on March 31, according to a spokeswoman for Health and Human Services Commission, who said a report will be available to the public once the findings are finalized. These investigations typically focus on the facility rather than individuals, according to the spokeswoman. The lawsuit comes as state lawmakers are trying to shine light on bad nursing homes after data has shown the facilities have gotten a free pass from the state government. In fiscal 2016, the state imposed 51 administrative penalties on nursing home facilities, which committed 18,089 violations during that time, according to state officials. At press time, a bill had been approved by the Texas Senate and was awaiting action in the House.
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