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DA Drops the Ball

Published on January 16th, 2020

Hidden cameras should be allowed in nursing homes to protect residents; prevent fraud; and to monitor the effectiveness of treatments. Recently, I read a tragic story about the abuse and neglect suffered by Skip MacNally, a resident of Peak Resources nursing home.

Her daughter, Renee Herwin, had suspicions about the care her 86-year-old mother, Skip MacNally, was getting at the nursing home in Cherryville, N.C. So, she decided to install a hidden camera to find out. She immediately discovered disturbing video of staff at the nursing home abusing her mother.

“I put the camera in on August 28. On August 29 I had a video of abuse,” she said. She had a second video within 24 hours of installing the camera.

The first video shows a nursing assistant yelling at MacNally—who is blind and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease—while changing her. In the video, you see the nursing assistant go from yelling at MacNally to violently moving her across the bed while changing her. MacNally cries out in pain several times over the course of the video.

“Have I done something?” MacNally asks the nursing assistant towards the end of the video.

“Devil’s wife,” the nursing assistant responds.

Herwin expected the hidden camera to capture evidence of her mother not being properly fed or going long periods of time without being checked on. She didn’t expect to find her mom being violently abused by staff.

A DSS report shows a social worker confirmed MacNally was abused but indicates the social worker didn’t even open an investigation. Fortunately, the police investigated and a detective wanted to press charges. But then the unthinkable happened.

“Well, he called me about four days later, told me the (assistant district attorney) was not going to file charges. I didn’t understand,” Herwin said.

To date, no charges have been filed against the employees in the video.

Herwin called WBTV in hopes the story of what happened to her mother would draw attention to a system that has lax regulation and little oversight.

“They need to have consequences for their actions! If you don’t have any consequences, it’s just going to continue to get worse,” she said.

 

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