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By John Kristensen of Kristensen, LLP posted in COVID-19 on Monday, May 11, 2020.
Nursing Home Ignored Cries for Help Amidst COVID-19 Outbreak

Nursing homes have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with the vulnerability of its elderly residents. Residents of these homes account for an alarming percentage of COVID-19-related deaths across the US, as much as 72% in New Hampshire and 50% in Massachusetts. Given these staggering numbers, these care homes would be expected to be on high alert for coronavirus cases and to implement strict protocols to protect residents and employees. However, there have been a growing number of cases revealing neglect of both patients and employees, as revealed in the case of a distressed daughter rescuing her ailing father from an infected elderly care facility and the case of the pregnant social worker in Massachusetts who was required to show up physically at the nursing home where she worked.

Under normal circumstances, medical professionals and care providers are some of the most important members of our society, and dedicate their lives to the service of others. Their efforts are invaluable, and the impact they make could never be captured in words alone.

These are not normal circumstances, and their selflessness and sacrifices are more evident than ever.

It’s important to note, however, the difference between sacrifices willingly made out of love for their professions – like their time with family, or sufficient sleep – and sacrifices made without their knowledge or consent – which can ultimately cost them their lives.

This is the sacrifice Brittany Bruner-Ringo made – a 32-year-old nurse whose passion was the care of the elderly, particularly those with dementia.

Bruner-Ringo was everything a nurse should be – kind, empathetic, and committed to her career because it was her passion, not because it was her paycheck. Her dedication to her patients is praised by all who knew her, and up until her last days, never wavered.

The facility Bruner-Ringo worked at – despite having a lockdown order in response to COVID-19 – chose to admit a new resident from one of the regions with the highest rate of infectivity: New York.

Bruner-Ringo questioned this choice, for the safety of all in this facility – and rightly so. Upon admittance, the family of Bruno-Ringo alleges that she called them concerned by the state of his health – a fever, a cough, and profuse sweating. Her family also alleges she told her supervisors he should be immediately removed from the facility for the safety of their staff and existing residents, a warning they chose to ignore.

Within one day of his arrival, the new resident was so ill that Bruner-Ringo called an ambulance. He was diagnosed with COVID-19.

At least 63 residents and employees contracted the virus. Nine died. Bruner-Ringo was one of them.

Nine deaths, one of which was from a young woman whose only priority was serving the lives of those she dedicated her own to.

Theirs were an avoidable loss, all because of what the victims’ family accuse management of allowing to happen due to greed. The facility was in lockdown. Non-essential workers were dismissed. And yet, a new resident from one of the most impacted regions of the country was admitted – whose residency brought more than $15,000 a month in profits for the facility.

Under normal circumstances, medical professionals and care providers are some of the most important members of our society. Under normal circumstances, those who manage them and oversee the care of the patients they serve have a duty to protect the workers and the patients in their care.

These are not normal circumstances, and Bruner-Ringo’s employers violated this duty, and their negligence cost the lives of her and the patients she served.

Bruner-Ringo and her patients are not the only ones. If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of mismanagement, placing health and lives at risk, call our firm so we can help you.