GLENVIEW, Ill. — An Illinois nursing home was sued after caregivers allegedly posted Snapchat videos of themselves taunting a dementia patient.
The short Snapchat video shows 91-year-old Margaret Collins who has dementia. In the video, it said, “Margaret hates gowns!” with two laughing and crying emojis. It showed a certified nursing assistant repeatedly putting a hospital gown on top of an elderly woman while she tries to wave it away.
"You just can’t believe you’re seeing this," Joan Biebel, Collins' daughter, said. "You think your mom is safe and now this is going on. You’re just trying to figure out what the heck is happening here."
The incident happened last December at the Abington of Glenview nursing and rehab center. Family members said staff knew that Collins did not like hospital gowns and preferred to wear her own clothes.
Brayan Cortez and Jamie Montesa were both charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Police said Cortez was in the video and Montesa recorded it and they said she told investigators she had recorded video of Collins in her wheelchair once before.
"If they’re in her room, they should’ve been there for a reason to help her, assist her, not to exploit her and threaten her and demean her and post it on social media," Biebel said.
Now, the family is suing the nursing home, its parent company and the workers. The lawsuit seeks more than $1 million in damages.
Administrators said in a statement:
“The privacy and dignity of our residents are of the utmost concern at The Abington. Recently, two employees were immediately terminated when it was determined that they violated our standards and policies.”
Police reports said Cortez and Montesa did initially return to work after serving a six-day suspension. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported administrators initially concluded the allegations were unfounded after co-workers vouched for the pair.
"This was a sick game that two CNAs tried to play for their own enjoyment and by filing this lawsuit and pursing this lawsuit we will prevent this from happening to other individuals in this facility, as well as other facilities across the state," John Perconti, attorney, said.
The state found Abington failed to implement its abuse prevention policy. Family members moved Collins to another facility, but they say her health has deteriorated.