When a family places their loved one in a nursing home, they trust the person will be treated with respect and care. However, the family of dementia patient Margaret Collins alleges the 91-year-old was instead taunted by the very staffers who were supposed to be looking out for her, reports CBS Chicago.
A Snapchat video from the December 2018 incident allegedly shows Illinois nursing home workers harassing Collins with a hospital gown. The senior does not like hospital gowns and staff at the Abington of Glenview facility were reportedly aware of her aversion.
Nursing assistant Brayan Cortez is accused of waving a gown at Collins, as his girlfriend and fellow Nursing assistant Jamie Montesa filmed the incident. The caption in the video reads, "Margaret hates gowns" with two laughing emojis.
"That was their disturbing form of entertainment?" Collins' daughter, Joan Biebel, told CBS Chicago. "I knew immediately that we had to go to the police department. This was completely wrong. My mother had an expectation of privacy."
The pair were arrested on misdemeanor charges. Cortez said the alleged taunting in the video was an "ongoing inside joke." The alleged incident didn't seem like a joke to Collins, who told investigators she feared Cortez "may force her to put it on," according to CBS Chicago.
Attorney Margaret Battersby Black of the firm Levin & Perconti filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of Collins. The lawsuit accused the facility of violating the Nursing Home Care Act, HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) and state privacy laws.
"That's exactly what this is. It's abuse," Black told CBS Chicago. "They knew that she didn't like this and they persisted in doing it."
The Illinois Department of Public Health also ruled that Abington of Glenview failed to implement its "abuse prevention policy," resulting in Collins feeling "degradation and shame."
"They had two staff members who were in her room for the sole purpose of playing a sick game, really," Black added.
The nursing home responded with a statement saying Cortez and Montesa were "immediately terminated when it was determined that they violated our standards and polices."
The two former nursing assistants will appear in court later this month. Collins has since been relocated to another facility.