Caught on Tape: Metro Health involved in horrific patient abuse
July 22, 2011 at 9:11 PM EDT - Updated June 24 at 8:43 PM
19 Action News is investigating alleged patient abuse at Metro hospital.
We have the hidden video and the pictures are horrifying.
Scott Taylor has been working this story for days and has this Shame on You Investigation.
People who are paid to help a 78 year old woman were caught on tape abusing her, by her son.
78 year-old Esther Piskor is shown on video getting tossed around like a rag doll by Metro Nurses Aides at their Prentiss Center Nursing Home.
A gown was tossed over her face and an aide is pulling up bed sheets but inside those sheets are Esther.
Other video shows aides screaming at Esther while tossing her in her chair.
Her son Steve who placed the hidden camera in Esther's room can't believe it.
"One video you can see her hitting her in the face. Other one she takes her legs and pushes it all the way back over her head," said Steve Piskor.
One of Metro's own employees, 45-year-old Virgen Caraballo of Cleveland, is now charged with felony assault.
We knocked on the nurses aide's front door but did not get a response.
Metro refused to face reporter Scott Taylor's questions on camera but tell him they have apologized to the family.
Steve says no one from the administration has said sorry to his face.
Three nurses aides were eventually fired and one other is suspended. Four more have been disciplined.
"Metro Health is now telling Steve and Esther the camera has to go or mom has to leave. The camera is against corporate policy. The same camera that exposed the abuse. Hey Metro Health... Shame on you," said reporter Scott Taylor.
"It's a shame on the administration for letting this happen. Shame on the staff," said Steve Piskor.
This isn't over. Metro now has the Ohio Attorney General's office and the Ohio Department of Health knocking on it's front door.
Metro Health released this statement Friday:
METROHEALTH SYSTEM STATEMENT
About two months ago, the Prentiss Center for Skilled Nursing Care at MetroHealth learned that a nursing aide had treated one of our patients roughly. Since this was first brought to our attention, we have reviewed hundreds of hours of videotape from a hidden camera placed in the patient's room. As a result of that review, we took disciplinary action against eight employees. Three STNAs were terminated for mistreatment, another STNA was suspended for failure to report mistreatment, and four others were disciplined for not following appropriate procedures.
We have apologized to the family and met with other Prentiss residents and their families to address their questions and concerns.
We have cooperated fully with the Ohio Department of Health and with the Cleveland Police Department in their investigations.
We have met with Prentiss employees to reinforce our policies requiring them to immediately report any mistreatment of patients in our care. We also conducted mandatory training for all Prentiss employees who provide care, including proper techniques to lift and move a patient, correct implementation of the patient plan of care, proper feeding techniques, and sensitivity training which includes adherence to guidelines for maintaining the dignity of older adults in our care.
Our Policy Review Committee has reviewed and updated the MetroHealth System's policies on the use of cameras to make sure they are consistent with industry standards. Due to privacy concerns, video cameras are prohibited in patient rooms in most long-term care facilities.
On July 19, The Prentiss Center engaged with an outside agency to provide sitters to remain in the room of the patient who was the subject of the videotape. The sitters will be in the room around the clock to ensure the welfare and safety of the patient. Yesterday, we met with the family member who released the videotape to advise him that all cameras must be removed from his mother's room at The Prentiss Center as we have provided alternative measures to ensure her safety and the cameras are in violation of The Prentiss Center policies. His lawyer informed us today that he will not remove the cameras.
We believe it is in the patient's best interest to be placed in another facility because her son continues to raise questions about the care she receives at The Prentiss Center. In order to ensure her safety and welfare, MetroHealth is working to find an appropriate placement that will meet her needs. Meanwhile, the patient will remain at The Prentiss Center and the sitters from the outside agency will remain with the patient around the clock.
We absolutely do not tolerate mishandling of any patient under any circumstances. We are very sorry this happened since excellence in patient care is our top priority at the Prentiss Center. We are consistently rated as a five-star facility by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and will continue to provide our patients with safe, high-quality care.