The owner of seven Louisiana nursing homes insisted he ‘did really good’ when it came to protecting the 843 senior residents under his care from Hurricane Ida despite the death of five residents and hospitalization of 14 others.
Bob Dean made the remarks after he crammed all his residents into a single warehouse facility in Independence, Louisiana, amid claims some seniors went without being fed or changed.
He explained: ‘ ‘We only had five deaths within the six days… normally with 850 people you’ll have a couple a day,’ Dean told local WAFB. ‘So, we did really good on taking care of people.’
But Dean’s words did little to reassure Louisiana State officials, who opened an investigation into the warehouse incident on Friday.
Senior residents lying on air mattresses on the floor inside Waterbury warehouse, while other reports included that measures weren’t put in place for social distancing
Fourteen nursing home residents needed hospitalization after staying in a poorly-conditioned warehouse during Hurricane Ida
The conditions of the warehouse where more than 800 senior residents stayed during Hurricane Ida were determined to be unhealthy and unsafe
Louisiana Department of Health spokesperson Aly Neel said conditions in the warehouse were squalid, as people lied on the floor and were crammed together amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.
The state DOH has reported more than 2,600 new cases a day and 51 new deaths.
When a large team of state health inspectors showed up on Tuesday to investigate the warehouse, the nursing homes’ owner demanded that they leave immediately, Neel said.
Dean, a developer from Baton Rouge, said that he was allowed to kick out the investigators because he was protected by the Constitution.
‘The Fourth Amendment says that they have to have a warrant to come on private property,’ Dean told WAFB. ‘Much less seize persons or properties. So, they came on there illegally.’
He owns the River Palms Nursing and Rehab in Orleans Parish, South Lafourche Nursing and Rehab in Lafourche Parish, Maison Orleans Healthcare Center in Orleans Parish, Park Place Healthcare Nursing Home in Jefferson Parish, West Jefferson Health Care Center in Jefferson Parish, Maison DeVille Nursing Home in Terrebonne Parish and Maison DeVille Nursing Home of Harvey in Jefferson Parish.
Paramedics standby at a mass shelter next to a senior citizen who was crammed inside the Waterbury warehouse during Hurricane Ida
Wheelchairs lying next to the Waterbury warehouse, where senior citizens were kept in atrocious and disgraceful sanitary conditions during Hurricane Ida
One of the six of Dean’s nursing facilities, Maison Orleans Healthcare Center, barely has more than one star out of five, the lowest possible rating, on Google and Medicare.gov
Health officials identified the owner of the nursing homes as Bob Dean
Two nurses who spoke to The New Orleans Advocate said Dean was not present at the warehouse and the warehouse was underequipped to deal with all the residents.
They said the warehouse had 10 to 12 showers, four sinks and a group of port-a-potties.
‘You could tell the other nursing home residents were neglected — they were so neglected. They would yell at us, ”Please help me, I’m thirsty, I need to be changed, I’ve been full of s**t for the past two hours.,’ one of the nurses said on the condition of anonymity.
‘The hardest thing we had to do was keep walking and not help them. That was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.’
Independence Police Chief Frank Edwards added that generators at the warehouse also stopped working a couple of times, and that in general, ‘conditions became unacceptable.’
‘I would not have wanted my mother or grandmother to be in those type of conditions,’ he said.
Despite that, Edward had argued that launching an investigation would be a waste of ‘resources,’ Newsweek reported.
Renetta Derosia and her sister Susan Duet came to the warehouse Thursday to check on their mother, Loretta Duet, who uses a wheelchair, the Associated Press reported. Their voices choked with emotion, they questioned how their mother was treated.
‘We’re just getting word now how bad it was here,’ Derosia said. ‘We thought they would have been better taken care of. Had I known, I would have taken her with us.’
The sisters thought their mother, who had been living in a nursing home in Lafourche Parish, was being taken to another home with proper nursing beds when she was evacuated ahead of the hurricane, Derosia said.
Families who were blindsided by the news rushed to the site to get answers about their loved ones.
Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards said ‘everybody was doing the best they could under the circumstances’, refusing to blame the owner of the four residents’ homes for putting up senior citizens in poor conditions
All that remains of a Grand Isle home after Category 4 Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana on August 29
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is the brother of Chief Frank Edwards, said he’s ‘grieved by the situation.’
‘We´re going to do a full investigation into whether these facilities, the owner of the facilities, failed to keep residents safe and whether he intentionally obstructed efforts to check in on them and determine what the conditions were in the shelter,’ Edwards said.
The Medicare.gov website rates six of his seven nursing facilities with one star out of five, the lowest possible rating.
All of them are in Louisiana, named: River Palms Nursing, Rehab South Lafourche Nursing, Rehab Maison Orleans Healthcare Center, Park Place Healthcare Nursing Home, West Jefferson Health Care Center, Maison Deville Nursing Home and Maison DeVille Nursing Home.
The remaining nursing home gets two stars, still considered below average. Five of the nursing homes specifically got one star for ‘quality of resident care,’ under the ranking system.
Gov. Edwards promised to pursue ‘aggressive legal action’ against Dean if he was found to have intentionally obstructed the initial investigation into the warehouse.
A submerged car and destroyed homes remain in Grand Isle, Louisiana on Thursday in the wake of Hurricane Ida
Betty Salisbury (pictured) helps clear her neighbor’s yard in Hammond, Louisiana on Thursday in the wake of Hurricane Ida
State Attorney General Jeff Landry said his office would uncover what caused the deaths at the warehouse and why law enforcement discouraged an initial investigation.
‘This may be a long process and we’re all in the middle of a recovery from Hurricane Ida, which requires our attention,’ he told Newsweek. ‘However, we must determine the facts surrounding these tragic deaths.’
This comes as Louisiana was tries to recover from the category four hurricane which left at least 12 people dead across the state. The storm killed a total of about 63 people, with nearly 50 death occurring in the Northeast after it was hit by record rainfall and floods on Wednesday night.
Ida has left Louisiana in shambles, with more than 710,000 homes and businesses in the state currently without power, according to outage tracker PowerOutage.US
Many of those homes and business are expected to remain without power for weeks, CNN reported.