ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA) -- It may be one of the largest nursing home abuse cases in history. Nearly a dozen employees at Potomac Center nursing home at 1785 S. Hayes Street in Arlington have been indicted. Two of them are already convicted.
"My husband's diaper, I would come in 12 hours later, the diaper was saturated, never been changed," said Mary Kay Evans about the care her husband Jack received there. She says complained constantly during the last seven years of his life spent at Potomac.
She continued ticking off the list of failings she saw, "His dentures were never removed and cleaned. His fingernails were long, his body was dirty. He had never been shaved."
Jack Evans was partially paralyzed, could barely move and had trouble breathing. His widow says she'd sometimes find his lunch still covered and untouched in the evening. Evans says her husband could not feed himself, and often, nobody would help him with the simple task of eating. And it got worse.
"It was just dropped off there, sometimes there would be roaches in the tray," Evans said.
Evans' attorney says the Virginia State Medicaid Fraud office asked if she would allow the FBI to put a surveillance camera in her husband's room at Potomac Center. She said yes.
With the evidence on the video tapes, Arlington Commonwealth's Attorney was able to indict 11 employees at Potomac, on charges ranging from neglect and forgery to assault and battery. The most serious charge involved a male registered nurse who's accused of and apparently caught on video, holding a pillow over Mr Evans' face.
The nurse charged in the pillow incident is 30-year-old John Deas. His trial is coming up next month. Kadiatu Diallo, a nurses's aide has already been convicted of assault. She is seen in a video laughing while she throws popcorn at Mr. Evans as he tries in vain to bat it away.
"Jack was scared to death. My husband was scared to death," Mary Kay Evans said.
Evans has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Potomac Center, it's holding company Genesis Healthcare, and 35 other defendants. Her attorney says these problems are rampant in for-profit nursing homes.
"If your concerned about hiring another $10 an hour employee because you can get to change a man diapers in more than once in 15 hours, that's where the poor nursing care comes in," said attorney Grace Carroll.
"All nursing homes should have cameras. These people need protection and they're not going to get it without the cameras," said Evans.
Potomac released this statement:
"Potomac Nursing Center (Potomac) acknowledges that a civil negligence suit was filed recently in the Circuit Court for the County of Arlington in connection with the care provided to a former resident who resided at Potomac for over seven (7) years from 2001 to 2008. The suit alleges that approximately two years ago, during two months in August and September, 2008, this resident received neglectful care and was subject to other alleged inappropriate actions by certain former Potomac employees. The suit seeks monetary damages and names additional corporate entities and numerous individuals, including certain care staff at Potomac and physicians. Potomac denies the allegations of negligence and other wrongful conduct in the suit and will defend the allegations.
"Potomac further acknowledges that certain charges were brought against several former employees of Potomac by the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney for Arlington County over a year ago in 2009 related to certain care services involving this resident during the time period August to September, 2008. Potomac has fully cooperated in the government's investigation and proceedings. Those employees accused of assault were terminated. The remaining charged employees no longer work at Potomac and were placed on administrative leave pending their trials.
"Potomac is aware that one former employee was acquitted of neglect and forgery charges in a trial where the resident's attending physician and the government's expert testified that the resident suffered no harm from the care he received at Potomac. One of the former employees terminated by Potomac for alleged assault was convicted of misdemeanor assault and sentenced to one day confinement and a $2500 fine. Another former employee was convicted of forgery for false medical documentation practices that caused no harm to the resident.
"Potomac believes that the resident in question received appropriate care during his stay at Potomac and denies he was neglected at any time during his seven (7) year stay at Potomac. Potomac does not condone any employee falsifying a medical record for any reason or any employee failing to show the utmost dignity and respect to any resident. Any instances of poor or inaccurate medical record documentation are deeply disappointing and unacceptable.
Potomac has served the Arlington community since 1978 and has over 300 employees who provide direct and indirect care services to over 200 residents on a daily basis for skilled nursing care and specialized care such as dialysis, rehabilitation and dementia support. Potomac is committed to providing quality care and to being an asset to its employees, residents and their families, and the community, and will continue to cooperate with the government's investigation. "
Potomac says the two employees accused of assault have been terminated and the others charged with forgery and neglect have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of their trials
Written by Peggy Fox
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com