At a Vero Beach assisted-living facility, a 300-pound caretaker was accused of yanking a frail, 89-year-old woman from a wheelchair, shaking her in the air and then throwing her on a bed, shattering the womans hip.
In Miami, a caretaker refused to call police after a 59-year-old woman with mental illness said she was raped by another resident in her room.
At a Port Charlotte ALF, a former Wisconsin county commissioner languished in bed for weeks, his body ravaged by bedsores so deep and infected he died from the wounds.
The homes are among three dozen probed by state agents shutting down the Miami and Vero Beach facilities in the longest crackdown on Floridas assisted-living facilities in a decade.
For five months, state regulators have been slapping the states harshest actions on dozens of homes, forcing the shutdown of 10 troubled facilities.
To Mary Dumas, sister of the elderly woman whose hip was broken, the closing of the Vero Beach home is a blessing, said the Arkansas resident. It needed to be closed down. They cant hurt someone else.
Prompted by a Miami Herald series showing the state was failing to close bad homes, the Agency for Health Care Administration began cutting state dollars and banning new residents from a dozen facilities.
Now, the state is moving to strip the licenses of at least 34 homes nearly doubling the rate before the crackdown after finding that residents were in danger.
People did not have to suffer like that, said Broward County mental health court Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren. Its been a long time in coming.
State inspectors have been sweeping across Florida to investigate a wave of complaints, including caretakers starving residents, failing to give them crucial drugs and in one case, beating them.
At Rapha Manor in Vero Beach, the 89-year-old woman had been attacked by her caregiver and forced to lie in pain for two weeks until a former employee showed up at the home and called an ambulance, police said.
Detectives said 56-year-old Vernita Bailey yanked Rosemary Taylor from a wheelchair after she complained, shaking her like a milk carton before heaving her on a bed in a rage.
By the time Taylor arrived at the hospital, her left hip was shattered and her body withered to 82 pounds. Chronically wasted, said an AHCA investigation in June.
CASE FALLS APART
Though Bailey was charged with aggravated battery of an elder, the case was later dropped by the state attorneys office in the 19th Judicial Circuit. The reason: Taylor, who suffered organic brain damage, was not considered a reliable witness and two other residents were afraid to talk, said Detective Jeremy Shepherd.
The home was shuttered, and weeks later, Taylor died on July 24 her autopsy results still not released pending toxicology test results from the medical examiner in Indian River County.
At least a dozen times during the state crackdown, inspectors found caretakers breaking the law, including two stealing from mentally ill residents, one altering medical records, and two others running homes so filthy and decrepit they were unsafe.
When agents arrived at Kipling Manor in July, they found a frail woman roaming the halls soaked in urine and a man suffering from depression and multiple sclerosis shaking and pleading for help after caregivers failed to give him crucial drugs to relieve the disease symptoms.