A Buffalo nursing home is under investigation after a resident-on-resident fight resulted in death at Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The fight began when 83 year old Ruth Murray accidentally wandered into a male resident’s room; both residents suffered from dementia. Murray suffered a punctured lung, multiple facial fractures, a lower back fracture, a broken neck and bruising from the fight. She was transported to Eerie County Medical Center where she passed away two days later.
The nursing facility issued a statement on the incident giving their condolences to the family and that they have been cooperating with authorities to conduct a thorough investigation. They continued to say they strive to provide a supportive, caring and safe environment for all residents. The incident is being investigated by the New York State Department of Health as well who declined to give a statement due to the pending investigation. Buffalo Police Department is also conducting an investigation; no charges have been levied at this time. The family retained an attorney, who is assisting with the investigation.
The attorney believes the extent of her injuries show the fight lasted for a significant amount of time. The resident has a history of physical violence and has previously been cited for inappropriate behavior. The family’s attorney stated this incident could have and should have been prevented by implementing protections for residents of the facility. The family will be bringing a formal lawsuit against the nursing home.
The nursing home does not have a good reputation; a search on Medicare.gov showed the facility as having a one-star rating and is considered much below average. The nursing home has received a “much below average” rating for health inspections and “below average” ratings staffing and quality measures. Melanie McGovern of the Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York stated deciding on where your loved one will live is a huge decision and suggested people check the Medicare site for ratings, state licensing and if they have any violations. She also suggested visiting the facility in person before your loved one moves in.