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Camera caught nursing home staff mocking resident. Investigators find more problems.

Staff at Universal Healthcare/North Raleigh is captured on a hidden camera berating a patient

A camera placed by family members captures staff at Universal Healthcare/North Raleigh berating a patient.
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A camera placed by family members captures staff at Universal Healthcare/North Raleigh berating a patient.

The state has substantiated claims that a nursing home mistreated a resident after a daughter secretly recorded staff insulting her father.

The hidden camera Rebecca Knapton placed in her father's room at Universal Health Care/North Raleigh captured staff belittling him after he had fallen out of bed and was calling for help.

"Man, you stink," one worker told Richard Johnson as he lay on the floor. He told them he fell trying to get to the bathroom.

One worker told the 68-year-old that he shouldn't complain about lying on the cold floor.

"You were on the bed, you decided to go on the floor, so that's your fault," one worker said. "You decided to go on the floor, so don't complain that it's cold."

At one point a worker told him that his suffering was his own fault. "You must have done something really, really bad," she said.

Knapton said she placed a camera in her father's room after he told her that staff routinely insulted him. She also suspected she wasn't being told about all the times her father, who had had a stroke, had fallen out of bed.

Knapton said her father told her, "they talked down to him, they treat him mean, they call him names, they fuss all the time."

The administrator at Universal Healthcare/North Raleigh could not be reached, but the company told WRAL in a statement this week that staff who had belittled Johnson had been fired and the rest had received more training.

Universal Health Care/North Raleigh has two stars in the federal government's five-star rating system.

A state investigation triggered by Knapton's complaint pointed out problems with the care of other patients.

According to documents Knapton received, surveyors for the state Division of Health Service Regulation interviewed staff and residents and reviewed document at the nursing home from April 10-15.

One patient complained of chest pain for two days, but there was no indication that he received nitroglycerin as the doctor ordered, according to the state report. The man was sent to the hospital on the second day. Hospital records show a nurse saw him at 1:30 p.m. in the emergency room, and that he died about four hours later. However, a nurse's record at the nursing home had the man leaving for the hospital at 7 p.m.

Knapton said Friday that her father was admitted to the hospital this week with an infection and a cough.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said on Friday that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will initiate enforcement action and notify the facility.

Bonner: 919-829-4821: @Lynn_Bonner
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