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Nursing home under investigation for elder abuse | News

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Nursing home under investigation for elder abuse
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SNELLVILLE, GA (WXIA) -- A metro Atlanta nursing home is under investigation tonight for possible neglect and mistreatment of a female patient.

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She was rushed to the emergency room with a 3-inch gash on the side of her head, and when doctors took a closer look police say they found more wounds just as disturbing.

The 77-year-old woman has been there for four years, since a fall left her unable to move or even communicate. Family members say they visit her every week, and thought she was being well cared for.

Now they're convinced she wasn't and police are investigating.

"She is bedridden. She is basically dependent on people to take care of her and that has not been done," said the woman's grandson, Ryan Sheppard.

Sheppard is talking about his grandmother, who was being cared for here at the New London Health Center in Snellville, until she was rushed to the emergency room Tuesday.

Doctors found a 3-inch laceration on the side of her head that required four staples to close, and bleeding on the brain. When doctors asked what had happened, the facility said it was unsure of details surrounding the trauma associated with this event.

"They just say it's under investigation. They can't tell us anything. Nobody is confessing, nobody is telling us anything," Sheppard said.

Doctors also found severely ingrown toenails, overall poor hygiene, including an open wound on the back of her hand where a bandage had not been changed for days.

11Alive News tried to get some answers from the nursing home.

"We have a question about one of your patients who was taken to the emergency room," said 11Alive's Duffie Dixon.

"I can't answer that, that's a HIPAA violation," the clerk said.

"Do you know you're being investigated by police?" Dixon asked.

"No, I do not," the clerk replied.

"In my 15 years, I've never seen anything like that," said Snellville Police Detective O.J. Concepcion. "A lot of people put trust in these homes -- these nursing facilities -- to take care of their loved ones, and when you see hygiene and things are not being properly taken care of its concerning."

As for Sheppard's grandmother, she is no longer at New London Health Center. She is in a local hospice, where doctors say they're monitoring her condition day to day.

Police have asked for the state to help investigate the New London Health Center. Meanwhile, we have requested to see the facility's records via the Georgia Open Records Act.

We did learn it was last inspected in March 2014. The only violation that came up was in 2012, for failing to provide treatment to prevent new bedsores. That is something investigators say the facility fixed within a month.

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