An 11Alive investigation uncovered hidden camera video catching nursing home staff laughing while an elderly patient dies in front of them. The incident happened at the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation in 2014, but the video was recently released as part of a lawsuit filed by the family.
Attorneys representing the Atlanta nursing home tried to prevent 11Alive from obtaining the video. They asked a DeKalb County judge to keep the video sealed and then attempted to appeal to the Georgia State Supreme Court. The judge ruled in favor of 11Alive and the nursing home eventually dropped its appeal to the state’s highest court.
The video includes almost six hours of video court deposition from a nursing supervisor explaining how she responded to the patient before she knew the hidden camera video existed. The video shows a completely different response.
The deceased patient is 89-year-old James Dempsey, a decorated World War II veteran from Woodstock, Georgia.
In the video deposition, former nursing supervisor Wanda Nuckles tells the family’s attorney, Mike Prieto, how she rushed to Dempsey’s room when a nurse alerted her he had stopped breathing.
Prieto: “From the time you came in, you took over doing chest compressions…correct?”
Nuckles : “Yes.”
Prieto: “Until the time paramedics arrive, you were giving CPR continuously?”
Nuckles : “Yes.”
The video, however, shows no one doing CPR when Nuckles entered the room. She also did not immediately start doing CPR.
“Sir, that was an honest mistake,” said Nuckles in the deposition. “I was just basing everything on what I normally do.”
Watch the extended deposition here where her story changes after watching the hidden video.
The video shows the veteran calling for help six times before he goes unconscious while gasping for air. State records show nursing home staff found Dempsey unresponsive at 5:28 am. It took almost an hour for the staff to call 911 at 6:25a.m.