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Families accuse nursing home of mistreatment

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“She meant everything, she meant the world to me, she was my mom,” said Andrea Coleman about her mother.

Her mother, Patricia Peters, checked into New Roc nursing and rehabilitation center on July 28th for rehab after an injury. She was only supposed to be there for two weeks.

“When she went in to this place she was okay and three days later she was gone,” said Coleman.

Coleman says her mother went in to respiratory arrest in the early hours of Saturday morning, the 31st. Her roommate at New Roc, Marsheila Walker, saw it happen.

Walker said the nurse came and and said, “if you can scream, you can breathe, the nurse asked her what’s wrong, and she said she couldn’t breathe and they said if you can scream, you can breathe,” said Walker.

Walker said she and Peters were up after 4 a.m., screaming for what she said was 45 minutes before someone came to help.

“I, with a broken leg and broken arm couldn’t get up and get the door so we both started yelling, she just wanted some help,” said Walker.

Walker said the nurse arrived at around 5 a.m.

“The nurse came in finally cleaned her up propped her up gave me some meds and I said, Patricia, are you alright? I’m going to take a nap your kids will be here in the morning,” said Walker.

Just a short time after that, Walker says she awoke to find Peters struggling once again to breathe. She says the nurses came in to revive Peters but it was too late. Peters was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly before 7 a.m. Walker’s daughter, Genevieve Jones, terrified by this incident, removed her mother from the facility the next day.

“What if something was going on and we couldn’t get to her in time that’s not a place she should be, that’s not a nursing home, that’s not a rehab,” said Jones.

Blossom North had issues under both the previous and current owners. 139 citations from the health department since 2012. The state average in that time frame is 23. Of those citations, 46 were life safety code citations, and the state average is 12.

Jones, who works at another nursing home, thought the new owners had turned it around. 

“We put her on the list to go there because they told us they had redone the place,” said Jones.

In a report done by the health department as recently as March 22nd of 2016, there were 36 deficiencies found, including a widespread problem with a number of issues like pest control, 24-hour staffing, and infection control.

“She and her roommate described as having bugs there roach eggs in her coffee my mom didn’t sleep the whole time she was there because there was mice running around,” said Coleman.

We talked to the facility’s administrator, John Gagnon. He took us on a tour of the hallways and cafeteria, but would not show us any rooms, wouldn’t allow us to take any photos, video, or even notes, but did release this statement:

“We 100% deny all accusations regarding this story. We are very proud of the dedicated hard-working staff that work here. We made a lot of amazing changes in our facility in the past year and we continue to do so. We openly invite anyone from the Rochester community to come visit.”

Gagnon also telling us that Marsheila Walker was not mentally competent to give an account of the events leading up to Peters’ death, an accusation her daughter resents on many levels.

“First of all, he’s violating HIPAA, and she’s stable shes fine she was able to tell you, she’s aware of her surroundings and she’s fine,” said Jones.

Walker said she needed to tell Patricia’s story because she said, it could easily have been her story.

“She only fell, she was there to get her strength back up, she was ready to see her great grandchildren, she was not ready to leave, she was not ready to go,” said Walker.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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