The family of an 82-year-old Wood Glen Alzheimer’s Community resident allegedly beaten two months before his death has sued a former aide and her employer in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.
Vanesha A. Rice, 24, of Dayton, was indicted by a grand jury for a Jan. 25, 2019, incident of fourth-degree felony patient abuse against John D. Sexton, who died March 21.
Photos provided by Sexton’s family showed bruising to both sides of his face. Medical reports indicated bones around Sexton’s eyes were fractured, according to Sexton’s attorney.
Rice’s arraignment scheduled for Thursday was continued until June 20, according to court documents which list no defense attorney.
Now Rice and the owners and operators of Wood Glen, at 3800 Summit Glen Road in Miami Twp., are being sued by Sexton’s son, Jim, for negligence, negligent hiring/retention, negligent supervision/control, intentional spoliation of evidence and breach of contract.
The complaint against Health Care Facility Management LLC, ACFB Inc. and Summit (Ohio) Leasing Co. LLC alleges that Medicare reported Wood Glen’s staffing levels as “below average,” that staff regularly complained about turn-over, being overworked and tired and not allowed to take breaks due to work burdens.
“Staff regularly made jokes such as ‘you could kill someone and not be fired’ because the facility was so short-staffed,” attorney Craig Matthews wrote.
The complaint also says that, “despite marketing themselves as ‘the only skilled nursing facility in … Dayton that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care,’ Mr. Sexton was brutally abused while he was at the facility.”
At 6:30 a.m. Jan. 25, Rice reported that Sexton had a “self-inflicted scratch” above his right eye, according to the lawsuit, which said Jim Sexton was notified at 9 a.m. that day that his father had an injury.
Sexton’s daughter Meg was told that though several hours had passed, Wood Glen had not notified police, according to the complaint. Meg told Wood Glen to call police, who showed up at nearly 4 p.m. to photograph the injuries.
A statement to police by Rice provided to Sexton’s family refers to the employee being “overworked and tired” and that she “back handed” Sexton “trying to protect myself.”
Rice’s statement later was modified to say she hit Sexton twice with a closed fist, according to an Ohio Department of Health document.
The complaint said Sexton was moved to Hillspring in Springboro and that his children believe the trauma was responsible their father’s rapid decline.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages plus attorney fees.
“The nursing home also must be held fully accountable for what their employee did,” Matthews said after Rice’s May 23 indictment, “and we intend to make sure that happens.”