by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:JACKSON COUNTY, Ga. —
The wife of a former patient of Alzheimer's Care of Commerce believes the state’s raid of the facility was long overdue.
Channel 2 Action News had the first camera there as patients were pulled from the facility Tuesday. It was promptly shut down, but Mary Williams said she raised a red flag years ago.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said a whistleblower prompted a three-month investigation into allegations of neglect and abuse of Alzheimer’s patients. It ended with 21 past and present employees facing a myriad of charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, including physical abuse.
Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh heard from numerous families who said they never saw it coming. Williams was not one of them.
"I said, ‘I'm not surprised,’” said Williams. "It was a very painful, heartbreaking experience."
She said in 2006, her husband of 60 years, Marvin, spent four months at ACC.
Williams had serious concerns about the level of care he was getting.
"When the hospice worker would come to bathe him, she would find all these bruises on him,” Williams said.
She believes her husband was constantly wandering unsupervised and falling down, was often left in the same clothing for days and received the wrong doses of medication.
"His prescriptions would run out before they were supposed to," she said.
According to the GBI, the problems were even worse than that. The agency’s investigation includes accounts of employees striking patients and restraining them with bed sheets.
The list of suspects in the case includes the owner of the facility, Donna Wright.
"It's exaggerated, over blown and really unmerited,” said her attorney, Mo Wiltshire.
Wiltshire contends Wright loved and respected her residents. Wright declined through her attorney to speak to Channel 2 Action News on Wednesday.
Williams wonders why Wright didn't address the concerns she had seven years ago.
"My heart grieves for the people who had been over there,” Williams said.
Williams said she complained to the staff and managements at ACC, and also contacted the office of the state's Ombudsman. She was not was not clear on what type of follow-up the office conducted at the time.