The distressed family of a 91-year-old woman seen in a Snapchat video as two workers make fun of her has filed a lawsuit against the nursing home and the workers.
After the video was made public, the workers were fired from the Abington nursing home, which is located in Glenview, Illinois.
The lawsuit claims the business didn’t take action quickly enough, waiting weeks to fire the nurses. The video was reportedly posted just before Christmas to Snapchat, a popular social media service where some videos disappear after a set amount of time.
The woman who uploaded the video captioned it “Margaret hates gowns” and added two laughing emojis.
Margaret Collins is the 91-year-old seen in the video. She has dementia and family members said she was waving around in the video because she was trying to defend herself.
“She’s waving her arms because of one reason. She doesn’t have mobility to get away. That’s the only option she has to protect herself,” Tom Collins, her son, told WLS.
The elderly woman’s family said that the woman had dementia and dislikes hospital gowns.
“You’re just like, this is somebody’s sick idea of entertainment?” said Joan Biebel, daughter.
“Margaret’s privacy was clearly violated,” added John Perconti, attorney for the family. “They had no right to have cell phones in there.”
The nurses were identified as Brayan Cortez and Jamie Montesa. The man and woman, a couple in addition to being co-workers, were later charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Cortez told police it was an “ongoing inside joke,” according to CBS Chicago. Collins told them she was fearful that the nurses were going to “force her to put it on.”
Both nurses said they knew Collins liked to wear her own clothes versus wearing a hospital gown, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. They’re due in court later this month.
Biebel said the video was disturbing.
“They deliberately taunted and bullied my mom,” Biebel said in a statement. “And they’re not even supposed to have phones when they’re on duty. They did this for their own entertainment, and posted it for their friends.”
The two employees allegedly made the 91-year-old resident — who suffers from dementia — disrobe and put on a hospital gown. This encounter was allegedly posted to Snapchat, @samjcharles reports.https://t.co/lB26Ze29tp
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) August 9, 2019
Family sues Illinois nursing home over video of aides taunting woman, 91, with dementia; aides charged and fired https://t.co/IlqvJOsCw7
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) August 11, 2019
— Eric Horng (@EricHorngABC7) August 10, 2019
“She’s like a little bird. She’s a little person. She’s, you know, very frail—like, what are you doing?” Biebel added to CBS.
The Illinois Department of Public Health found that Abington failed to implement its “abuse prevention policy,” resulting in Collins feeling “degradation and shame,” the broadcaster reported.
Abington said in a statement: “Recently, two employees were immediately terminated when it was determined that they violated our standards and policies.”