Veteran Dies in Florida Nursing Home After Staff Allegedly Didn’t Bathe Him, Family Says

December 16, 2018 Updated: December 16, 2018
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An 84-year-old Army veteran in Florida died after a gangrene infection developed around his genitals, and his family members are alleging the nursing home didn’t do enough.

York Spratling, the veteran, began living at the Consulate Health Care of Jacksonville in December 2016 after his health had declined and he wasn’t able to care for himself on his own, reported the Naples Daily News.

But in February 2017, he was taken to the emergency room and was told his genitals had become gangrenous, which is dead tissue caused by a lack of blood flow or an infection, said the report.

The doctor told the family “he had never seen anything like that before, especially in this day and age,” Derwin Spratling, the man’s nephew, told the Naples newspaper.

“It really freaked us out,” he said.

Spratling died shortly after undergoing surgery.

When investigators looked into the nursing home, staffers told them they could smell the “infection from the door to his room,” but they didn’t document the infection or tell a doctor until five days after the fact, according to the publication.

His family alleged that Spratling wasn’t being bathed, but nursing home staff claimed he refused to take a shower.

“It’s way past obvious. This is so past obvious that it’s mind-blowing,” Derwin Spratling added.

“Who was taking care of this man?” Lula Price-Brown, Spratling’s sister, told the publication.

State investigators later determined he died “due to inadequate supervision and medical neglect,” the Naples Daily News said.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), however, has not yet taken any action against the nursing home after the investigation. The AHCA had also cited Consulate Health Care three times in a year before Spratling died.

The home didn’t provide “enough nurses to properly care for residents, including showering them,” the paper reported.

Before Spratling’s death, an unnamed patient at the same nursing home complained to AHCA inspectors. “I have not had a shower in I don’t know how long,” the person said, according to the Naples paper.

After the man’s death, a subsequent report carried out by the Florida Department of Children and Families ruled that Spratling had died due to “inadequate supervision and medical neglect,” the paper reported. Another patient allegedly told the agency, “I wallow around in this bed in my own [urine].”

In Florida from 2013 to 2017, some 43 cases were opened investigating the deaths of 54 nursing residents, the Naples report stated. Medical negligence or error was cited as the cause of death in each case.

It’s not clear what Spratling’s family will do now or if they will take legal action.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Gangrene refers to the death of body tissue due to either a lack of blood flow or a serious bacterial infection. Gangrene commonly affects the extremities, including your toes, fingers, and limbs, but it can also occur in your muscles and internal organs.”

“Your chances of developing gangrene are higher if you have an underlying condition that can damage your blood vessels and affect blood flow, such as diabetes or hardened arteries (atherosclerosis),” the website says.

Spratling reportedly suffered from diabetes, his family said.

According to the clinic, “Treatments for gangrene include surgery to remove dead tissue, antibiotics, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The prognosis for recovery is better if gangrene is identified early and treated quickly.”

More Neglect?

Meanwhile, a father in Tampa, Florida, said he is concerned that his son, a veteran, is being neglected at a VA hospital. Cedrick Givens, 27, was involved in a motorcycle accident and is now confined to a wheelchair, Fox13 reported. He’s been at the James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa for eight months.

“I’m more concerned about the mental anguish that he’s going through as well as the obvious physical problems. He only has the usage of his right arm, so he can’t do anything for himself,” said Freddie Givens, the father.

He said that his son is now covered in sores and even contracted a bacterial infection. “I want changes, I want something done. He shouldn’t have to go through that and its really deteriorating his motivation,” Freddie Givens said.