Woman had maggots in foot wound after care center left it untreated for months, doctor says

A doctor testified that an Australian care home attempted to block him from informing an ailing 94-year-old’s family about maggots that were found in an untreated wound on her foot days before her death. Dr. Eric Tay, who was Annunziata Santoro’s physician, told the Royal Commission into Aged Care that the bone infection, which by his estimates had been deteriorating for around two months before he was told about it, contributed to her October 2018 death.

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Tay said he was told by staff at The Assissi Centre that his patient, who had dementia, was increasingly agitated but that it was behavior-related and no mention of the festering wound was made, leading him to prescribe anti-psychotic medication that she did not need, according to news.com.au.

The woman's daughter testified that her mother's final days were spent in pain. 

The woman's daughter testified that her mother's final days were spent in pain.  (Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care)

The woman’s daughter, Anamaria Ng, also testified and said that her mother’s final days were spent in pain under heavy sedation. Ng claims that Jamuna Jacob, the nursing unit manager at the facility, initially blamed the maggots on a day trip that the family had taken with Santoro. Jacob and another manager, Anna Yow, are under investigation, according to the news outlet.

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“I was appalled that she was essentially not prepared to take responsibility for what happened,” Ng testified, according to news.com.au. “At this point, my mother’s management had been so poor, her pain management and her care and I had just completely lost faith. I just wanted her out of there. I believe she [she] would still be alive today if her pain and care had been properly managed.”

Ng said she and her brothers moved their mother to another facility, but she died just days later.

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The aged care commissioner found “significant gaps” in Santoro’s care, while the CEO of the facility, who has not been named, was fired, according to the news outlet.