Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Key West Convalescent Center Nursing Home is Forced to Evict Patients 9 Die

Key West,Florida, USA by Ray Fernandez

The Key West Convalescent Center has failed to score high enough in inspections to come off a list of troubled nursing homes in the state, according to state inspectors who visited the facility Nov. 1.

State inspectors pointed to instances in which residents were injured or verbally abused during their stay at the facility, but a continuous pattern of bad inspections is what ultimately lead to the center's closing and the eviction of all the elderly living there.

People who had mothers, fathers, and family in the center gave the center high marks and blamed politics for the closing of the center and the eviction of the residents.

"Let me tell you something," Estevez said. "The people who work there are very loving people. This one [employee] will stop whatever she's doing and come out of her office to help a lady that sits in her chair in the lobby every day. She sits her in that chair with the pillow every day."

That employee, Admissions Director Dona Rosado, has come to know the residents and looks forward to seeing them every day, she said.

"These people have become my family," she said. "As soon as I park my car, they greet me every morning, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and they're glad to see you."

Patients in wheelchairs and on gurneys hugged and cried with friends and relatives in the lobby of the Key West Convalescent Center Friday as three hospital transportation vans waited outside the center's glass doors.

It was moving day for about 20 terminally ill and seriously injured residents of the embattled center, and loved ones had little time to say goodbye before they were loaded onto the vans and ambulances for transport to new quarters.

"It was the death of a family," said Lori Dombroski, her voice breaking. "It's like they tore up one big family and put us each in different foster homes."
Melba Gill started to cry as she sat on the sunbathed bench outside the Key West Convalescent Center.

At least nine former residents of the now-defunct Key West Convalescent Center have died in the month after the long-term care facility closed around Thanksgiving.

Between Nov. 25 and Christmas Day, Terrece Kell, James White, Kathleen C. Petite, Bolivia Maria Benitez, Randall Warren, Gertrude Cohen and Roy Himmelberger have died, according to nurses, funeral homes and the Monroe County Health Department's vital records office.

Though the deceased either were elderly or terminally ill, their family members and nursing home officials predicted the convalescent center's abrupt closing would hasten the deaths of residents unable to emotionally or physically handle their hasty relocation to other nursing homes around South Florida.

Shortly after 2 more elders died, Frances Colvert's daughter and Robert Kelly's friend blame the move for their deaths, sometimes called "transfer trauma" in the industry.

My own experience with elders being separated from familiar surroundings has been no less traumatic as less than three months after my mother Clara G. Fernandez was moved out of her handicapped home and into a hotel room with the complicity of the *Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) who looked the other way in spite of numerous complaints, Clara was left alone and drugged in a hotel room where she fell became permanently incapacitated and was isolated , kept from her husband well known Medical examiner Dr. A.J. Fernandez who died after being forceful separated from his wife of 58 years Clara G. Fernandez

Dr. Fernandez died a year after being separated from his wife, this was done in order to get at their money, during this time their Trust was decimated while authorities and the DCF looked the other way in the mean time attorneys divided up the cash left in the estate leaving the surviving elder paralyzed and indigent.

Source: Key West Citizen Newspaper

*Clarification : We met a lot of good people that worked for the DCF and they called me often because they were genuinely interested in our welfare, and we are well aware as they are that some of the people that we have exposed for things they have done would rather us not talk about them here and they have used the DCF as a weapon by filing numerous and frequent FALSE complaints against us.

As a result of these investigation(s) we were audited for a period of 5 years and exonerated, and these were some very capable investigators that did an excellent job, it is a shame that DCF doesn't have better internal controls so that the people that drop the ball are not made to account for all the hard working people at the Florida Division of Children and Families (DCF).

For the most part most DCF people that we know are very hard working people that and are truly interested in helping out even when politics and over regulation get in the way but I will never forget when we begged Sheryl Smith the supervisor for Bartow DCF to save our mother who was under a deadly cocktail of Lorazepam,Ambiem and Darvocet and being left alone in "Motel Rooms" .

We turned to Sheryl Smith the supervisor for the Bartow ,Florida office of the DCF for help and law enforcement refused to get involved and passed the baton , she told us that there was nothing she could do because they had "no police powers" and week and a half later Clara G. Fernandez who was under a deadly cocktail of Lorazepam,Ambiem and Darvocet lay alone in the floor on the bathroom of some motel room were she was under un familiar surroundings.

She was hemorrhaging from her brain being condemned to a wheel chair for the rest of her life because of this neglect that has been swept under the proverbial "Rug".

My only question is "Who and Why in the DCF is a party to this, and why do they protect somone that should be held accountable when lives are at a stake. The then District 14 Director Mr. James Griblle reported that the matter ought to go to the State Attorney?"

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