THE INVESTIGATORS: Attorney for Bob Dean works to get nursing home licenses reinstated
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Attorney John McLindon and the legal team for nursing home operator Bob Dean, Jr. is swinging back, working to clear his name and get his licenses back weeks after he made the call to evacuate more than 800 of his elderly nursing home residents to this warehouse in Tangipahoa Parish. Seven people died and 12 more had to be hospitalized during the ordeal.
“We’re going to appeal because it’s a business he has and he takes care of people and serves a very important service or need to the community so we definitely want to get those licenses back,” said McLindon.
McLindon says Dean did nothing wrong. As Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Office looks into what happened, he is firm- his client will not face any criminal charges.
“I can just tell you, Scottie, from everything I’ve seen, I have seen nothing that rises to the level of criminal conduct at all,” McLindon added.
The Louisiana Department of Health has said they were kicked off the property when they went to go check things out at the warehouse once the storm had passed. When inspectors went back the next day they say they found horrific conditions, including folks being stuffed onto cots on the floor, a smell of urine throughout the facility, and some water puddling inside. McLindon says some of that has been exaggerated.
“Yeah there were some reports about that. Remember this also, a lot of the staff had to leave their families in New Orleans and Jefferson. Not all of them were able to get up there and then when they even got there, some of them we’re staying in temporary housing and they had trouble getting back to the facilities on day two, three and four because the roads were blocked, there was damage you know because the hurricane went right through there. So at times, we were a little short on staff but again, overall these folks did a really good job. They took care of these people under not the best circumstances,” McLindon said.
WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked McLindon whether the allegations are true that some elderly residents did not get food or medications in a timely manner.
“I’ve never heard that,” McLindon answered. “I can tell you the documents I have from the Louisiana Department of Health do not support that.”
A number of lawsuits have been filed in the case. Just last week, one was filed in East Baton Rouge on behalf of Darlene Franklin, an elderly resident. That lawsuit is holding not only Dean but the state responsible as well.
“Because they approved the plan. They approved it. Bob Dean submitted this plan to dump over 800 people into a warehouse during a hurricane and they said, you know what? That’s okay. We’re going to approve that,” said attorney Ron Haley.
“There’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on and you know a lot of people are coming in and saying oh you should have done this and you should have done that and it’s really a disservice to the nurses that stayed there and worked so hard,” said McLindon.
McLindon echoes what his client says about the situation, saying given the circumstances, Dean did what he thought was right and he stands behind the decisions that were made as Ida swept through. Right now, McLindon and his client are asking for patience.
“As in most cases, if you just wait, you’re going to see a lot more evidence come out. It’s not as bad as it seems to be,” said McLindon. “Sure there were problems, I don’t deny there were problems but I think when you really start to hear the nurses come out and talk about how they did everything within their power, you’re going to hear a different story.”
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