NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — News 2 has learned of an 11th death out of the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing and a nurse at the same company’s Nashville facility says a patient of hers has died from the virus as well.
“It seems like every day when I turn on the news or I get a phone call, there’s been another death,” Malpractice Attorney Clint Kelly with The Kelly Firm told News 2.
Kelly says it started last week with dozens of phone calls from families and employees at the Gallatin nursing home where more than 100 residents and staff tested positive over the course of a week, and 11 are now dead.
“It is one of the key points of the investigation to find out, did the nursing home slow shoot or slow-walk the process of getting these residents cared for in a timely manner,” Kelly explained.
This week came the calls from employees at the Nashville center, where nurses say one of their patients tested positive for COVID-19 and has since died.
Both facilities are owned by New Jersey based company CareRite.
“A nurse called me from the Nashville center,” Kelly said, “One of the residents there had been transferred, I believe, to St. Thomas hospital, sick with COVID-19 and she said she had been exposed to this patient, they did not provide proper PPE to them, they were wearing homemade masks, so she had been exposed, other nurses had been exposed.”
“One of the nurses who notified that she wasn’t going to return, was threatened, saying that if she did not return to the nursing home, they would report her to the department of health on the basis of abandonment,” he said, referring to such a thing as a form of bullying.
So far, Kelly is putting together a lawsuit for 20 residents and five nurses from the Gallatin facility, as well as two nurses and one resident in Nashville.
Both nursing homes have put out statements stating they had visitation policies in place and all staff were screened and wore protective gear.
Kelly says employees tell him they did not have proper PPE and never filled out questionnaires or had their temperatures taken.
“When the stories begin to match almost verbatim one after another after another, that is a way that you begin to verify that the acts that are taking place did occur,” Kelly said, “More than anything else, I want to prevent future deaths.”
Kelly says family and staff want to see management testify under oath, but right now, they have to wait 60 days to file a pre-suit notice.
The Nashville nursing home and CareRite did not return our request for comment Wednesday.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.