Two Texas nursing home workers are facing criminal charges after they were caught on camera abusing an 87-year-old amputee man.
Lisa Jo Cooper, 61, and Kecia Danielle Johnson, 57, turned themselves in to authorities on Thursday after they were both charged with injury to an elderly person – a second-degree felony. Both nursing home employees were released from the Galveston County Jail after posing $100,000 bond.
Cornelio Salinas told his family that workers were abusing him at Solidago Health and Rehabilitation – where he is a resident. The family installed a camera inside his room a year ago to prove there was elder abuse at the nursing home.
On Oct. 2, the nursing home called the family to inform them that Salinas had fallen out of bed and was taken to the hospital. Salinas had injuries not consistent with falling out of bed: two black eyes, bruising, and he needed a neck brace.
The family reviewed footage taken by the surveillance camera.
Video shows two nursing home workers dragging Salinas across the floor, kicking him, smacking him, and tossing him into bed. Salinas suffers from arthritis.
The nursing home employees close the curtain. Cooper and Johnson are behind the curtain for 15 to 20 minutes, during that time Salinas, is seen on video falling to the floor.
The elderly man’s grandson, Lizandro Solis, told reporters, “You never think it’s going to happen to one of your family members. It’s sad.”
Solis said of the abuse, “That’s no way to treat nobody, especially an elderly person with one leg. What is he going to do to you? How can he hurt you?”
The nursing home workers seen on the video were initially suspended and then later fired.
After the video went viral, Solidago Health and Rehabilitation issued a statement: “The health and safety of our residents remain our first priority. Our thoughts are with the resident and the family. Solidago Health and Rehabilitation enforces strict policies prohibiting patient abuse. Prompt action has been taken to ensure our residents are safe. Any violations of the abuse policy are reported to the appropriate agencies and legal authorities and the facility works closely with those agencies.”
The nursing home told reporters, “In parallel to the external investigation, we launched an internal investigation, and the employees were immediately suspended. At the conclusion of the internal investigation, the employees involved in the incident were terminated as a result of violating the company’s policies.”
“We will continue to review our systems and approaches to identify new opportunities to strengthen existing measures to safeguard the health and safety of our residents,” Solidago Health and Rehabilitation added.
Solidago Health and Rehabilitation was hit with 11 violations during an inspection in July 2021, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission,
The inspection found the nursing home had “failed to provide residents with care and services related to activities of daily living” and “failed to attain or maintain the highest practicable, physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.”
State records show the facility in Texas City was fined $19,800.
Solis is warning everyone who has an elderly loved one residing at a nursing home, “Keep an eye on them. Put a camera on them. You never know when it can happen to y’all.”
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