Sixty-eight-year-old Wanda Parker’s son, Denny Williams, said he will never forget their last visit through her window.
“All she kept saying was please help me,” Williams said. “I still don’t sleep well because of that. I have nightmares about it.”
He said he and his mom’s husband noticed workers at the Villages of Lapeer Nursing and Rehabilitation Center were not wearing personal protective equipment.
They called and complained on behalf. Then they got a call from a hospital.
Parker had COVID-19 and would not make it.
“She was taken from us for no good reason,” Williams said.
He and some workers at the Villages of Lapeer Nursing and Rehabilitation are suing.
They say workers were banned from wearing masks because their boss thought masks would scare patients.
One worker said she told her boss her mom’s cancer doctors told her to wear one.
“In order for me to be around my mother I have to wear this mask,” said Taylor Minifield, a former CNA at Villages of Lapeer. “You can’t wear it and she snatched it off my face and threw it in the trash.”
“She sent one girl home. About 40 minutes later she sent another girl home, both because they refused to take their masks off,” said Tasha Harden, a former CNA at Villages of Lapeer.
Harden and Minifield said when they started having possible COVID-19 symptoms in March, they were told to continue working.
They soon became too sick to work and suffered permanent lung damage from COVID-19.
“My lung function is not only at 77 percent,” Harden said.
“I have to have my inhaler,” Minifield said. “I have to take it every six hours in order to breathe.”
“The conduct of that nursing home was so reckless,” said Jim Rasor, with the Rasor Law Firm.
Their lawyers representing them at the Rasor Law Firm say the nursing home had masks and thanked the community for donations on Facebook but refused to let workers use them.
“The facility was getting donations of these things that the D.O.N. locked in her office,” said Andrew J. Laurila, with the Rasor Law Firm.
According to the state, 47 patients and 16 workers got sick.
Nineteen patients lost their lives to COVID-19.
The Villages of Lapeer released a statement:
“Due to the fact that the matters being inquired about are ongoing, we are not in a position to provide comment. We can say that the Villages of Lapeer has been and will continue to cooperate with the involved parties.”
“They cost my mom and a lot of other people their lives and made a lot of people sick,” Williams said.