Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Purple Heart Veteran Leaves Nursing Home with Maggots In His Eyes


DELTONA -FLORIDA-USA - Anthony Vincent Digiannurio mailed an engagement ring to his future wife while in Germany after World War II, not knowing whether she would accept his marriage proposal, his daughter Laura Digiannurio said.

"My father was a character," Laura chuckled as she talked Friday about the man at the center of a nursing home neglect investigation unfolding in DeLand.

And he deserved to be treated with more dignity than what he received at University Center West nursing home in DeLand, she said.

At 3 a.m. on Nov. 7, the 82-year-old World War II veteran was taken to Florida Hospital DeLand by ambulance from the University Center West nursing home at 545 W. Euclid Ave., a DeLand police report states.

Anthony Digiannurio was admitted for respiratory problems but the hospital staff discovered the elderly man had maggots in one of his eyes, an infected breathing tube, a partially inserted catheter and bed sores on his left elbow.

Laura Digiannurio, 52, said her father's vital signs are improving and his breathing tube has been removed, but he is still unable to talk. On Friday afternoon, the elderly man opened his eyes for the first time since he was hospitalized, she said.

"He has gone through a lot," she said. "He had a fever and bedsores when he got to the hospital, and they found over nine maggots in his eye."

"I put all my confidence in (the nursing home), and then this happens?" Laura Digiannurio said.
At the nursing home, the elder Digiannurio fell and injured his head in May after a nurse left him to attend to another patient, the daughter said.

"Their service is very poor," Laura Digiannurio said. "One day I was there and they brought him a cold, small crusted sandwich for dinner. It was disgusting."

Sitting at her house Friday, Laura Digiannurio laid out her father's Purple Heart certificate and his honorable discharge papers, recalling stories her dad used to tell her.

"He used to talk about how he used to shoot it out with the Germans," he said. "He came (home) with frostbite scars on his feet, and he still had problems with his feet."

In July 1988, Anthony Digiannurio was awarded the Purple Heart for being in the European Theatre of Operation on Sept. 8, 1945. He was honorably discharged from the Army in April 1946.

The World War II veteran is also an author, a poet and a painter. He wrote nine books, Laura Digiannurio said, and one of his books, published in 2001, is listed on a Web site selling rare books. It's about the son of an immigrant raising his family in traditional ways with his two sons following his example when his daughter defies him by marrying an alcoholic outside their race.
In his living room at the Deltona home sits a trophy he was awarded in 2004 for his poetry.

"He kept himself busy," Laura Digiannurio said, adding when she last spoke with her father Nov. 4, he was talking about his paintings.

When he recovers, the daughter hopes to place her father in a nursing home for veterans in Gainesville, she said.

Abridged for E.A. =>>

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This man's daughter put all her confidence in a place that she says had terrible service, allowed her father to fall out of his bed months ago while he was unattended, and allowed him to not only be covered with bedsores, but to have an eye full of maggots, a catheter only partially in place, and some type of infection around his breathing tube?? Yet another case (a very sad one, obviously) of people putting their parents in these awful places and never showing up to CHECK ON THEM. Hello folks! Newsflash: show up often, know the staff and make sure they know YOU, and don't settle for less than exemplary care for your family member. Putting all your confidence in a place and then turning a blind eye and crossing your fingers that your loved one is being well cared for?? Think about it.