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Letter: Nursing home failures put patients in harm’s way

I was stunned after reading online The Buffalo news story: “A nursing home recovery: One man’s journey.” My mother’s own journey was eerily similar to Henry’s, the story’s central character. Both were placed at the Buffalo Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, both became violently ill, but, unlike Henry, my mother lost her life.

My mother’s stay was expected to be a time for rest and rehabilitation, but reality proved otherwise. At times she’d not received meals, was confronted with constant personal shortages – which staff told me was intentionally devised to save on administrative costs. An aide constantly neglected my mother’s requests for help, even in my presence. Eventually, with my mother contracting pneumonia, staff members, including a nurse, told me to call police in order to get her to a hospital. I ask Is this normal protocol for all nursing homes?

After my mother’s death, I immediately requested copies of her medical records. For three weeks I was denied access, despite literally showing copies of state laws to the center’s social service department, that affirmed my lawful rights to the records within 48 hours of my mother’s death.

The head of medical records stated after the initial request, “That’s not how we do things around here.” After reading the files, even one with an untrained medical eye, I could detect discrepancies in the center’s paper work when compared to documentation from other medical facilities. I could go on, including confronting inertia and difficulties from the New York State health department as well.

Jody Starr


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