• Family: Video shows veteran's calls for help ignored by nurses

    Updated:

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Family of a World War II veteran is suing the Atlanta-based nursing home where he died.

    They say a hidden camera, installed at Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center, shows the elderly man’s repeated calls for help were ignored.

    Tim Demsey says his father, James Dempsey, was nervous about spending the night at the facility, so the family installed a nanny camera facing the man’s bed. Only his family and his father knew the camera existed, according to Dempsey.
     
    The family of the 89-year-old says he was supposed to be at the assisted living facility for a short time. He died at the facility in February 2014.
     
    “We would have just thought it was natural causes and everything was done that should have been done and he passed away in his sleep,” Dempsey told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman.
     
    Dempsey says he got the real story when he took the hidden camera home and reviewed the video.
     
    “Shock, dismay, we’ve seen these people everyday,” he said.
     
    On six occasions in the video from the morning he died, Dempsey can be seen pressing the “call/help light button from his bed.”

    He can also be seen yelling, “help, help, help,” and appears to be pointing to his heart.
     
    At one point a nurse on the video says, “you gotta stop putting the light on. What do you want now?”
     
    A nurse also tells him, “you’re having anxiety that’s all, you just need to calm down.”
     
    “You would never thought that people would just let a person die,” Dempsey said.
     
    About two hours after the initial call light, the nurses are seen administering CPR for several minutes and then the video shows the paramedics arriving – by then it is too late.
     
    The son filed a lawsuit against the facility, which is owned by one of the largest nursing home operators in the country, Atlanta-based Sava Senior care.
     
    “The biggest problem to me is the attempt to cover it up,” said Michael Prieto, who represents the Dempsey family.
     
    “If they made a mistake then a person of integrity stands up and says I made mistake and you deal with the consequences that certainly hasn’t happened in this case,” Prieto said.
     
    Since Monday, Channel 2 Action News has called the company and their attorneys for comment but have not heard back.

    According to the latest federal inspections, the facility is ranked “much below average.”

    Next Up: