Class Action Lawsuit: The Citadel Nursing Home in North Carolina was negligent, exposing residents to the coronavirus

Lawyers say the citadel’s property understaffed the facility and failed to adhere to proper coronavirus mitigation guidelines.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against The Citadel Nursing Home in North Carolina that at one point had the highest number of coronavirus cases in any assisted living facility in the state.

WCNC.com reports that The Citadel has suffered at least 189 individual coronavirus cases and 18 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began.

The class action claims that part of the reason the Citadel was hit so badly was due to “severe systematic understaffing”. However, the law firm behind the lawsuit says the staff shortage had far less to do with the pandemic than it did with the owner’s business model, which allegedly resulted in local residents being mistreated.

“Given the poor conditions at the facility, it is not surprising that the Salisbury Citadel has one of the earliest and largest COVID-19 outbreaks in a North Carolina community. This was confirmed by tests on numerous residents on April 10, 2020, ”the lawsuit reads.

Lawyers say the Citadel’s COVID situation was eased in large part by the facility’s change of ownership in early 2020. In particular, the lawsuit alleges that the new owner Portopiccolo did not take any steps to ensure that patient records and medical documents were obtained from the previous management.

An illustration of the novel coronavirus called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is responsible for COVID-19. Image from CDC via Unsplash.com.

Portopiccolo, according to WCNC, did not control any nursing homes at the beginning of 2016 – but now operates more than 120 in the USA.

The lawsuit suggests that Portopiccolo “grew its business through ruthless cost-cutting measures that resulted in facilities that are largely rated as just a star or two by the official US government.”

Kelly Moody Fesperman said she was led to believe that her father, Kenneth Moody, would be safe from the outbreak when he moved into the citadel in 2020. The citadel took no special precautions, however, and Kenneth died not long after it arrived.

In fact, Kelly Moody says that her father wasn’t even quarantined when he first arrived at the citadel, despite being led to believe he was being kept away from other residents.

“We were told we would be in a private room for two weeks, similar to a quarantine, so we assumed this would happen,” WCNC said. “It did not happen. He was taken to a room with a roommate. After he died we found out that the roommate had COVID. “

Moody died on April 21; His daughter says she wasn’t even informed that he was sick until Kenneth was almost dead.

“[The doctor] said, “Your father is dying,” and we didn’t even know he was sick, “she said.

The lawsuit cites numerous other cases of apparent neglect: a resident, Betty Deal, was allegedly denied Parkinson’s medication more than 20 times; She also later tested positive for coronavirus.

The class action claims that “part of the defendants’ for-profit private equity business model has been to cut costs and keep staff to a minimum”. Lawyers say this model was inherently reckless, negligent, and willful – which led to disastrous effects after the coronavirus hit.

The lawsuit seeks damages for the plaintiffs.

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