Recently released hidden video footage of a nursing home shows James Dempsey, an 89-year-old WWII veteran, repeatedly calling out for help as he gasped for air, ultimately losing consciousness. Instead of providing proper care, Wanda Nuckles, a former nursing supervisor, fails to immediately perform CPR and a second nurse doesn’t check Dempsey’s vital signs when she enters the room.
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Now with more than one nurse in Dempsey’s room, they struggle to get the WWII vet’s oxygen machine operational and, when they couldn’t, they can be heard laughing.
The footage was made available base on an NBC 11Alive investigation. While the events took place in 2014 at Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation, video was only recently released as part of a lawsuit, which was filed by the family of Dempsey.
Attorneys initially tried to block the release of the footage, but a judge sided with 11Alive and the nursing home eventually dropped its appeal to the Georgia State Supreme Court.
In the video, nearly six hours of court deposition from Nuckles where she is asked to explain what occurred, before she was aware that the hidden camera footage existed. Then, the video shows her response after she is made aware of the video.
Nuckles initially claimed she rushed in an immediately began performing CPR. However, the video shows that she didn’t perform CPR as she claimed.
When a second nurse arrives, she neglects to take Dempsey’s vital signs. Then, when they had issues with the oxygen machine, Nuckles and others can be heard laughing.
In total, Dempsey had requested help six times before losing consciousness.
While CPR was eventually performed on Dempsey, the staff repeatedly start and stop, an act that Elaine Harris, a retired nursing professor, states “is absolutely inappropriate,” saying, “You never stop compressions” until a doctor determines not to resuscitate the patient.
According to state records, he was found unresponsive by nursing home staff at 5:28 am, but 911 wasn’t contacted until 6:25 am.
According to the report, it took 10 months, after being given access to the footage, before the nurses featured in the video were fired by the nursing home.
The facility itself is only listed as one-star on Medicare, but still operates in Atlanta.