A hidden video from 2014 shows nurses laughing as a World War II veteran repeatedly called for help and died while in their care.
The family of James Dempsey, 89, of Woodstock, Ga., hid a camera in the late veteran’s room in the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center which captured the night he died.
The video showed the decorated WWII veteran repeatedly calling for help, saying he could not breathe. It also showed the nurses failing to take life-saving measures and laughing as they tried to start an oxygen machine.
Dempsey’s family sued the nursing home in 2014 following the veteran’s death. Dempsey's family declined to comment on the video, citing a settlement with the nursing home, WXIA-TV reported.
The nursing home’s attorneys attempted to stop media news outlet WXIA-TV from getting the video, but a DeKalb County judge ruled to unseal the footage.
The nurses, including a nursing supervisor, Wanda Nuckles, told Dempsey’s family lawyers in the deposition that when she learned the veteran had stopped breathing, she rushed to his room and took over CPR, keeping it up until paramedics arrived, WXIA-TV reported.
However, the secret video showed that nobody was doing CPR when she arrived, and she did not start immediately. After the attorneys showed Nuckles the video, she told them it was an honest mistake, based on her normal reactions.
When the attorneys asked why Nuckles was laughing, she said she did not remember.
WXIA-TV reported the nursing home was told of the video in 2015 but did not terminate the nurses until 10 months later. Nuckles and another nurse did not surrender their licenses until this September, when the Georgia Board of Nursing was sent a link to the video by the news station.
Records showed the nursing home continued to have problems, including $813,000 in Medicare fines since 2015, WXIA-TV reported. It said the nursing home got a good inspection report in May, but still has Medicare's lowest score, a one-star rating. The nursing home is currently still open.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.