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The family of a housekeeper who worked at a nursing home in Beaver, Pennsylvania, and died of COVID-19 filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the facility, alleging negligence and a “long pattern of unsafe, unsanitary conditions,” attorneys announced.
Elizabeth A. Wiles, who died May 10, worked at The Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, which was linked to at least 80 COVID-19 deaths and has a “long history of infection control violations,” according to a statement from Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky P.C. in Philadelphia.
The complaint, filed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in Pittsburgh, alleges that the private facility’s owner-operator and its contractors “failed to protect workers, residents and visitors from infection, sickness and death,” according to the statement.
“There is no doubt that the defendants' motivation for intentionally misrepresenting to its employees and others the safety of the facility was to continue to make money and to deceive state and federal regulatory agencies about the severity of the outbreak,” the statement reads.
“COVID-19 found a perfect environment to spread at Brighton - an understaffed nursing home lacking proper PPE and protocols and that had been repeatedly cited for unsafe and utterly ineffective infection controls.”
The facility could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on June 11 issued the owners $62,580 in fines over its handling of sick patients and the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in late May visited the facility, citing concerns over mass infections among patients and workers, according to media reports.
More insurance and workers compensation news on the coronavirus crisis here.
The AFL-CIO filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration over the lack of temporary standards to protect workers in the country from acquiring COVID-19.