GRAPHIC VIDEO WARNING: Complaints continue after administration change at Sodus nursing home

February 28, 2019 08:16 AM

Warning: There are graphic images in the video above. 

SODUS, N.Y. (WHEC) -- A new leadership team promised changes were being made but the complaints about the care and conditions inside the Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center continue to roll in.


News10NBC has been digging into the facility and its track record for more than a year now and even though the management was replaced last summer, families continue to run into serious safety concerns inside.  

Joi Ann Mitchell-Kinley's father and Bill Tanner were best friends so when her dad died, Bill took Joi Ann under his wing.

"He did all my yard work, took care of the animals, the house, it was just like having my dad here, it was great, it was nice," she recalls.

Now, it's her turn to repay the favor.

Tanner has leukemia, dementia and other health issues and needs around the clock care.

The social worker at the hospital said the only bed available in the area that would accept a Medicaid patient was at Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

"I sat in the room and I said to them, 'I really don't want to come here.  I'll tell you the truth, I don't want to come here at all. I'm nervous about this place.' So, they brought out some papers and said... 'well, let me tell you Channel 10 News has been after us forever and all these allegations are untrue,'" Mitchell-Kinley says of the conversation she had with administrators back in January.  

News10NBC has been investigating Sodus Rehab, so has the New York State Department of Health which has cited the center 90 times in the past four years for health and safety violations—three times the average number of violations other nursing homes face.  

While the CEO of the healthcare company that owns Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center didn't want to speak with News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke when she tracked him down in the New York City Area last summer, he did replace the leadership team in Sodus the day after her visit.

"We've cleaned house. Everybody is new in here and you don't have any worries," the administrators said according to Mitchell-Kinley during her welcome meeting.  

She wasn't convinced but felt she had no other choice; she says she was disappointed almost immediately.

"I'm here eight hours at a time, no one comes in and puts pillows under the man, turns him, does anything. I push the button and for 35 minutes I sit there and finally go to the desk and find no one," she says of an average day inside.  

A few weeks ago, Mitchell-Kinley says she started mentioning a strong smell in Tanner's room, she thought it may have been his colostomy bag and asked staff to check and clean it but the smell didn't go away.

Then, last Thursday she walked in as Tanner was being moved.

"They get the hoyer (lift) off of him, move it away and they pull the diaper off, push him over and the minute they pushed him over I went...gasp...'Oh my god,'" she recalls.

Tanner's entire backside was covered in bed sores, some of which were leaking, oozing and dark in color.  

Photographs, taken by Mitchell-Kinley on Jan. 14, the day Tanner was admitted to Sodus Rehab, show the skin on his bottom was discolored but do not show any open wounds or sores. Photographs taken 40 days later, show the extent the bedsores.

"Where's the RN?" Mitchell-Kinley demanded after seeing Tanner's bottom. "She's not here right now, our other one left, there is one we have but there's no RN right now," she recalls an aide saying.

She then requested the LPN on-duty.

"He does the hands up in the air and I just look at him and he says, 'I know you look upset but I can fix this,'" she says.

That LPN didn't get the chance.

Turns out Tanner was also anemic and needed to be rushed to the hospital.

Mitchell-Kinley says when the doctor at Newark-Wayne Hospital rolled Tanner over and saw his bottom, he said, "It's horrific, it's not the worst we've seen but it's right there."

The bed sores have turned necrotic and according to doctors, if they had gone untreated much longer, "once it got infected, sepsis and then done," Mitchell-Kinley says.

Tanner remains in the hospital.  

In an email to News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke, Judson McCaull, the administrator at Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center says, "As you know, we are restricted in disclosing any information pertaining to our residents under both the nursing home code and HIPAA.  Therefore,  we are not able to discuss any particular resident matters with you. There is a process in New York for the confidential investigation of complaints involving residents and reports concerning residents which is accomplished by the New York State Department of Health.  We cooperate in this process fully and provide all information requested by the State which is then subject to the confidentiality provisions of the Public Health Law. This process is very intensive and applies to all nursing homes in this State.   Any resulting survey findings arising from such complaints are published by DOH without identifying residents or staff while also publishing the plan of correction developed by a facility to address the root cause of such findings.  Our facility conscientiously and actively seeks to assure compliance in all areas of resident care."

"It needs to be closed and not when their done with their investigations and looking into it and the health department calls and slaps them on the wrist, it needs to be closed and those people transported to different places," says Mitchell-Kinley who hasn't yet had an opportunity to file a formal complaint against the nursing home with the NYS Department of Health.  

News10NBC sent the pictures of the bed sores to the state health department, in a statement a spokesman says, "The dignity and safety of nursing homes residents is our number one concern.  Images like the ones you shared would be of concern at any nursing home in New York state. We have a process for holding deficient nursing homes accountable."  

New Yorkers who have a complaint or concern about a nursing home should contact the Centralized Complaint Intake directly at 1-888-201-4563, so appropriate action can be taken.

All complaints are reviewed and kept confidential.


Jennifer Lewke

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