SHARON, Mass. — A hidden camera captured a 93-year-old great-grandmother being tossed around and her hair pulled in a Sharon nursing home and rehab last week.
The video, set up by her family in her room at Wingate at Sharon, shows two women toss the elderly resident into her wheelchair. The resident, whose family, has identified her only as Dorothy, then struggles to maintain her balance.
“Get the hell away from me,” Dorothy says. “You think you’re pretty smart,” as one aide shows Dorothy her fist. Seconds later, the other aide grabs her hair from behind and yanks her head around.
The video from March 5 begins with Dorothy, who has dementia, swearing at and exchanging swipes with the pair. She threatens to break one certified nursing assistant (CNA)’s nose and says she will call police. Her granddaughter Kristen says Dorothy was defending herself.
“She can’t really hurt you. She’s 98 pounds. They were picking her up and whipping her around,” Kristen said. “It’s awful. We haven’t even slept nights with the images in our head of what was taken place, and we weren’t there to help her.”
Sharon police investigating the case filed a court summons for Domingas Teixeira, 61, and Leonide Jean Paul Bien-Aime, 49, both of Brockton, on charges of assault and battery on a person over 60.
Teixeira denied physically assaulting Dorothy but declined to comment further without an attorney.
FOX25 tried to reach Bien-Aime at home but could not make contact with her.
Wingate confirmed to FOX25 both aides had been fired. The company sent the following statement to FOX25.
“Upon hearing this deeply upsetting news, we moved swiftly to terminate the two employees involved, conduct a full investigation and work with the authorities. We have brought in a counselor to support the resident and family and are re-educating all of our staff on appropriate and compassionate patient care. We are confident that this is an isolated incident, because we know our dedicated staff members who work hard every day to ensure the safety and dignity of the residents for whom they care. Nonetheless, it is heartbreaking.”
A spokesperson for Wingate also provided a letter that was sent to residents’ families, informing them of the incident, promising it was isolated and pledging, “nothing is more important to us than the safety and dignity of our residents.”
Dorothy, sick with pneumonia and a urinary tract infection, has been transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital. There, Kristen said, she is happier. She will never return to Wingate, the family said.
“I’m disgusted. I’m sickened by it. She’s defenseless,” Kristen said. “We trusted this place to take care of her, and this is what was taking place in their facility.”
In an effort to protect her own grandparent and others, Kristen has been sending letters to lawmakers urging them to reconsider an electronic monitoring bill that was never passed but was proposed more than 15 years ago to allow residents of nursing homes to keep a camera rolling in their room.
If you suspect elder abuse, report it to the Elder Abuse Hotline: 800.922.2275 (Voice/TTY) in Massachusetts or (603) 271-7014 in New Hampshire.