Wagswoofs – Bradford Williams, a 79-year-old man, passed away on a scorching August day, left alone and seemingly forgotten in Liberty, Missouri.
According to the findings of a state investigation, he was discovered on the ground next to his wheelchair, with scratches and bruises, and bugs crawling over him.
Now, his family has taken legal action by filing a lawsuit against Liberty Health and Wellness, the nursing home responsible for his care. The family seeks answers regarding the alleged negligence and lack of proper care provided to him.
According to the family’s attorney, Paeten Denning, Williams, who had visual impairment and partial paralysis on his right side, was reportedly upset on that August morning in 2022. He wheeled himself to the front desk, demanding a refund and expressing his desire to leave. Denning mentioned this in a wrongful death lawsuit.
A witness interviewed by state investigators revealed that instead of allowing Williams to exit through the front door, a staff member provided assistance and guided him to the nursing home’s inner courtyard.
The family was informed by the funeral home director about the alarming condition of Williams’ body, as shared by Denning.
Denning described the man as having bugs crawling in and out of his mouth and nose, along with cuts and scrapes on his arms.
“If that were your family member, you can only imagine the type of reaction it would evoke.”
The nursing home has denied all responsibility in response to the lawsuit.
Chrisco, who was still employed at Liberty Health and Wellness during her interview with FOX4, expressed her dissatisfaction with the staffing situation, describing it as absolutely terrible.
She expressed her concern about the workload of the nurses, stating that they are overwhelmed and exhausted from working in multiple halls. Despite their best efforts, they are unable to provide the level of care they desire.
According to Chrisco, employees are also at risk, not just patients.
Attorney Antonette Dupree has been hired by the woman who intends to file a lawsuit against Liberty Health and Wellness. The woman claims that she sustained an injury while working and was shocked to find out that the nursing home does not provide workers’ compensation, which is mandatory under Missouri law.
Chrisco decided to leave his job at the nursing home in November.
Liberty Health and Wellness has been under scrutiny by federal and state investigators, with its last inspection in May revealing a staggering 28 violations. This is more than three times the average number of violations found in a typical nursing home.
The report is an extensive 138-page document that highlights numerous issues. One concerning discovery made by federal inspectors was the presence of a resident wearing heavily soiled clothes with dried blood in their hair.
According to residents’ accounts, they experienced a prolonged period of up to eight weeks without access to showers. Additionally, the delivery of medicine was not consistently provided, as confirmed by Chrisco.
“I reached out to the medical director, expressing the urgency of the situation. I explained that despite my best efforts, the patients were not receiving the medication they needed,” she recounted.
Investigators found that there were complaints about food carts being left in hallways, which required residents to collect their own meals and water. Those who were unable to do so had to rely on assistance from other residents.
They realized that there was no point in requesting additional staff.
Chrisco expressed her frustration with the long wait times for staff to respond to resident call lights. She mentioned that it would often take hours before someone would answer the call.
Liberty Health and Wellness finds itself in a troubling situation, as it has been included in the “Special Focus Facilities” list. This list consists of nursing homes that are at risk of losing federal funding unless they take steps to improve their operations. It is worth noting that some facilities have a history of being placed on and taken off this list periodically.
Chrisco asserted that despite the increased oversight by regulators, problems still persist at the facility.
Chrisco expressed frustration with the constant changes that are made and then reversed, describing it as a never-ending roller coaster ride.
Who is responsible for overseeing operations at Liberty Health and Wellness?
Sam Goldner, a 27-year-old entrepreneur, was in charge of operating the nursing home when William passed away. Goldner, along with his company, Goldner Capital Management, had previous interactions with FOX4 Problem Solvers.
A nurse at a different nursing home operated by Goldner reached out to Problem Solvers last year when she found out that her life insurance policy had been canceled due to nonpayment, despite the fact that the premiums were being deducted from her paycheck.
Meadow View of Harrisonville, the nursing home, no longer includes Goldner as an owner/operator.
Attorney Antonette Dupree wasn’t surprised to learn that Goldner, who owned 15 nursing homes in Missouri, was the state’s second-largest owner last year.
According to Dupree, the owner of this company is rapidly acquiring assisted living facilities across the country. During a presentation to potential investors in Ohio, Goldner explained the company’s revenue generation strategy.
According to Dupree, the method he plans to use to achieve this is similar to how he currently manages his facilities in Missouri. This involves reducing the benefits provided to his staff, cutting back on staffing levels, and decreasing the dietary requirements for the patients.
“He expressed his thoughts in writing, and you can clearly see his words translated into his actions and the way he manages these facilities, which is quite risky.”
In Missouri, Goldner-operated nursing homes have faced at least four wrongful death lawsuits in the past three years.
Two out of the four suits have been resolved through settlements, while the remaining two are still awaiting resolution. In one of the settled lawsuits, Goldner was dismissed as a defendant due to the inability to locate him in his home state of New York for the purpose of serving court papers.
Goldner has never reached out to us.
During our visit to Liberty Health and Wellness, we had the opportunity to speak with administrator Amy Bax. Although she refrained from commenting on Williams’ unfortunate demise, the numerous violations the nursing home had faced, or the allegation regarding the lack of workers’ compensation coverage for its employees.
According to CEO William Miller, the company assumed control of the operations last summer and has been actively implementing improvements. As a result, the number of violations at the Liberty nursing home has decreased from 27 to 17. However, it is important to note that the facility is still classified as a troubled establishment in both state and federal databases.
According to Williams, Sam Goldner no longer operates any nursing homes in Missouri. This news has provided some hope to Chrisco, as it means that there may be no more patients or staff who will suffer under Goldner’s management.
“It’s absolutely heart-wrenching when you return home,” she shared. “Tears flow uncontrollably every single day.”