As reported by Atlanta-based NBC affiliate 11Alive, an undercover video has surfaced showing some of the most callous behavior you are likely to ever see from another human being, especially by people who have pledged to provide lifesaving medical care.
What’s worse, this outrage happened to a U.S. veteran.
The video, with audio, shows a World War II veteran calling for help six times while gasping for air, calling out until he lapses into unconsciousness before dying. While the decorated U.S. Navy veteran, James Dempsey of Woodstock, Ga., was begging for help, nursing home staff assigned to care for him were laughing as he died.
You read that right: Laughing.
The incident occurred at the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation in 2014, however, the video — which was recorded via hidden camera — was released recently as part of a lawsuit that was filed by the family.
Attorneys with the Atlanta nursing home attempted to prevent 11Alive from obtaining it, pressing the court to keep the video sealed. When a lower court ruled that it should be released, the nursing home tried to appeal the decision to the Georgia Supreme Court. After the lower court ruled in favor of the TV station the nursing home eventually dropped their appeal.
Included in the video is nearly six hours of taped court deposition from a nursing home supervisor who tried to explain that she was responding to Dempsey’s calls for help before she knew that there was a hidden camera recording her.
That hidden video “shows a completely different response,” 11Alive reported.
In the deposition, former nursing supervisor Wanda Nuckles told the Dempsey family attorney Mike Prieto that she rushed to his room when a nurse told her that he had stopped breathing.
Here’s how the conversation went:
Prieto: “From the time you came in, you took over doing chest compressions…correct?”
Nuckles : “Yes.”
Prieto: “Until the time paramedics arrive, you were giving CPR continuously?”
Nuckles : “Yes.”
However, the video shows that no one was doing CPR when Nuckles got to the room. Also, she did not immediately begin the life-preserving procedure, which Prieto pointed out.
“Sir, that was an honest mistake,” Nuckles responded. “I was just basing everything on what I normally do.”
In the video, Dempsey can be heard calling for assistance six times before he lapses into unconsciousness as he gasps for every breath. According to state records, nursing home staff reported finding Dempsey unresponsive at 5:28 a.m. It took staff nearly an hour before they called 911, at 6:25 a.m.
When a nurse did finally attend to the veteran, she didn't even bother checking any of his vital signs. Nuckles said that she would have reprimanded the nurse for responding the way she did, calling the video “sick.” (Related: Outrage! Preschoolers used as guinea pigs in psychotropic drug tests.)
The nurses who finally responded are seen having trouble getting Dempsey’s oxygen machine working. As they fumbled through, Nuckles and others in the room can be heard laughing.
Prieto: “Ma’am, was there something funny that was happening?”
Nuckles : “I can’t even remember all that as you can see.”
The local station showed the video to other medical professionals, who were disgusted by what they saw.
“In 43 years in nursing, I have never seen such disregard for human life in a healthcare setting, is what I witnessed,” said Elaine Harris, a retired nursing professor and expert in adult critical care.
What happened to James Dempsey is more than just outrageous. It should be criminal. Read more accounts of dangerous medicine at DangerousMedicine.com.