Home health aide overdoses, leaves disabled man trapped in hot car

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It's one of the most difficult decisions a family can make- deciding who to trust with the health care of your loved ones.

For the elderly or disabled, the most vulnerable, who can't care for themselves, that decision is even more critical.

One family says their trust was violated in a terrible way, and some say it never had to happen.

Rocky Thompson's life changed forever in March 1999. A train hit his car, leaving him comatose for more than 100 days.

A bruised brain stem left the once able-bodied 19 year old in need of permanent, constant care.

"He needs somebody to bathe him, feed him, give him medicine," said his sister, Danyelle Sommerville. "He's full total care."

Danyelle is his primary caregiver but is grateful for the help she gets through Medicaid.

"The state gives Rocky 15 hours a day, which is a blessing for us. Because I do have two little ones. So that does help me be able to care for my kids and care for Rocky at the same time."

Over the years, multiple home health aides have worked with Rocky. But one stands out.

"He was wonderful. He was absolutely wonderful."

Rocky agrees: "I like Bart."

Those who knew Barton Borror will tell you about his bright spirit and big heart.

"He was fun, crazy, loving. Just a real good person," said a close friend, who spoke with 10TV on the condition of anonymity.

"He was a hard worker," said a co-worker, who also requested anonymity. "He loved his clients. He would do anything for his clients."

"He was good to me and my family," said Danyelle.

But the people who knew Barton best say they were aware of something Danyelle and Rocky were not.

"He had problems with addiction, with alcohol and drugs," said his friend.

Barton's problem was documented in this a Columbus Police report, where police say Borror's family described him as "a heroin addict."

They were calling for help after Borror allegedly shot heroin in his neck.

Borror's friend and co-worker say his fight with drugs was ongoing through the last several months.

They say he was working at Sunrise Family Healthcare for the last year, through the worst of his addiction.

They both say they were worried about him, and his ability to care for patients.

And on June 17, their fears became reality.

In a call to 911, a man asked for a medic at a house on West Mound Street in Columbus.

"I think one of my roommates just overdosed," he said.

"What do you think he overdosed on?" the operator asked.

"Probably meth or something," the caller said.

"Did he inject with heroin, or was it meth did you say?"

"I don't know," the caller answered. He's been known to do, like meth. As far as I know, it's one of his two drugs."

"I got a call from Sunrise," remembers Rocky's sister. "And they said, 'Danyelle, there's been an accident, but Rocky's okay.' That's the only thing she kept saying. And I said, 'Where's Barton?' And she said...she said, 'He's no longer with us.' I said, 'What do you mean?' She said, 'He passed away.'"

Rocky was in Barton's care when Barton died of what the Franklin County Coroner has preliminarily ruled a suspected overdose.

Rocky says Barton left him in the car, went inside his house, and never returned.

A Columbus Police report says security cameras show Rocky was trapped alone in the car for one hour and 16 minutes.The high temperature that day was 91 degrees.

"I was scared for my life," Rocky told 10TV.

"Rocky was so drenched in sweat and urine," said a witness. "It was horrible. We was having to put water on him to cool him down."

"I was sick to my stomach," said Danyelle. "Because I just never thought in a million years this would happen to him- to someone that's been in my home 15 hours a day? I just never seen it coming."

Barton Borror's co-worker said Barton isn't the only one to blame.

"I kind of blame work, and Barton. work should have been drug-testing. Barton should not have been using. I blame both of them."

The owner of Sunrise Home Health Care told 10tv off-camera that he does randomly drug-test employees.

He called Barton Borror a good employee and said there were no signs of trouble, and no way they could have anticipated what happened.

Barton's friends say there were warnings that were ignored.

"He went on leave for three weeks, into rehab at Netcare. When he got out, he went back to work two days later, with no drug test," said his co-worker. Asked how she knew that, she said Barton told her.

"He told me he was afraid that they wouldn't hire him back because they knew he was in rehab," said his friend. "And then he came home and said, 'They're not going to drug test me.' That kind of ticked me off. I even called anonymously to his work and told them that they needed to do drug testing. Because I don't think people like that should be taking care of elderly and disabled."

10TV asked the owner of Sunrise if he was aware of the claim made by two people close to Barton- that his leave from work was for drug treatment.
The owner said he was unaware.

Glenn McEntyre: "So as much as you care for Barton and appreciated the person he was and the care he provided your brother, should he have been allowed back in the care of your brother?"

Danyelle Sommerville shook her head no. "Much as I loved him, I mean I wish I could have helped him. I wish I could have helped."

"People are putting their loved ones in our hands," said Barton's co-worker. "They depend and trust you. And to me, that trust was all broken that day. For rocky, that trust was just broken."

"This is not okay," said Danyelle. "And I do not want somebody else to get hurt, or another life to be lost."

The Ohio Department of Medicaid says it is currently investigating this incident as a potential case of neglect.

Under Ohio law, such an incident has to be reported within 24 hours- they say Sunrise Family Healthcare reported this incident four days after it happened.

The Ohio Department of Health says it has conducted 5 complaint-based surveys of Sunrise in 2016 and 2017 - all of those reviews turned up no wrongdoing.

The owner of Sunrise Family Healthcare declined to speak with 10TV on camera but sent a statement saying he was "saddened and shocked" by Barton Borror's death.

He acknowledges that Borror requested leave for the month of April, during which time he was not caring for clients.

He said Borror did not provide a reason for the leave and was not required to.

He said Sunrise had no reason to believe Borror had violated their Drug-Free Workplace policy.

You can read the entire statement by clicking here.

We reached out to Barton Borror's family. They did not want to comment.

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Who should families call if they have questions about their provider?

Families should contact the individual’s care manager or care coordinator through their managed care plan. The care coordinator understands the individual's needs and can provide assistance to the family with their questions or concerns about the care their family member is receiving.

For general questions or questions about coverage, people can call the Department of Medicaid’s consumer hotline at: 1-800-324-8680.

How to file a complaint with the Ohio Department of Health.