Lawsuit Planned In Alleged Nursing Home Abuse

HAVERFORD, Pa. – May 3, 2011 (WPVI) — Mary and Paul French of Havertown spoke for the first time Tuesday about a case of alleged nursing home abuse caught on videotape.

The victim was Mary’s mother, 78-year-old Lois McCallister.

“We are furious,” said Paul French, “at watching someone you love being beaten and being abused.”

“She is not the type to fight back,” said Mary French. “If you look at the tape she was just trying to get away.”

Last month, three staffers from the Quadrangle in Haverford were arrested. Citing negligence and misconduct, state officials in Harrisburg revoked the facility’s license on Friday. The upscale facility remains open during an appeal.

Mark Ordan, the CEO of Sunrise Senior Living, Inc., which operates the Quadrangle, said what occurred was an isolated incident.

“We had three rogue employees,” he told Action News. “We were shocked. We were angry that people would do something like that. We have we have been 1000 percent cooperative with the authorities.”

Cooperative? Not so, says the Frenches’ attorney. He says Sunrise was required to report early abuse complaints to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW).

“They were supposed to report to the government,” said attorney Robert Mongeluzzi. “But they didn’t.”

Sunrise Senior Living has been in hot water before. On Tuesday, a spokesperson with the DPW said the company has had a long history of regulatory violation in Pennsylvania.

Last year, Sunrise promised the state it would take steps to improve its culture of care, to put residents first. It claims it does.

“We have 30 thousand people taking care of 40 thousand seniors,” said Ordan. “And we put them first.”

Lois McCallister is now living with Mary and Paul French. The family says Sunrise ignored their initial complaints of abuse, dismissing them as a manifestation of McCallister’s Alzheimer’s Disease. They hope a lawsuit they plan to file will change how Sunrise treats future complaints.

“They have to follow those rules and do something about it,” said Mary French.

“Maybe the next family that comes forward, they will do something about it, rather than blame it on dementia,” said Paul French.

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