Family Speaks Out Against Quadrangle; Plans Lawsuit
The family plans to file a lawsuit against Quadrangle, while parent company’s CEO said the facility has been cooperating with authorities.
Sitting in the spacious family room of their home at 1846 Rose Tree Lane, Mary and Paul French sat in their loveseat during a press conference and described the difficulties they and Mary French’s 78-year-old mother, Lois McCallister, have been through during the aftermath of the alleged abuse McCallister faced during her stay at the Quadrangle Retirement/Nursing Home Facility.
McCallister has been living with her daughter and her family after being moved out of the Haverford facility back in March of this year after her family discovered, via a secret hidden camera placed in her room in Quadrangle by Paul French, that she was being allegedly abused by three staff members.
"When I get her changed at night, she will occasionally make comments, ‘Please don’t hurt me,’” Mary French said Tuesday morning about her mother, who suffers from severe dementia.
Authorities alleged that the three Quadrangle care staff, who have since been fired, Samirah Traynham, 22, Tyrina Griffin, 21, and Ayesha Muhammad, 19 forced McCallister to go topless and mocked and abused her in one incident on March 31 of this year.
The three have been charged with assault and related charges. Video of that incident can be viewed here.
“She’s always been a timid person and not the type to fight back. In the tape, you can see that she’s trying to get away,” Mary French said, who said that her mother was abused as a child.
“They would grab her by the hand and pulling her back in (to her room),” said Paul French, describing how his mother-in-law was trying to get away.
The family described how they and McCallister visited Quadrangle together and on January of 2009, McCallister moved in. Three weeks later McCallister was moved into the Remberance ward, which is designed to provide better treatment for dementia patients who cannot care for themselves. Paul French said that he spent nearly $8,000 a month at Quadrangle for his monther-in-law's care.
The Havertown couple recalled that McCallister—who was described as a “social butterfly” and an avid bowler by the Frenches—started to complain to them in early March of this year that someone was hitting her.
By the middle of March, Mary French said she reported the alleged abuse to one of Quadrangle’s administrators and the next day the administrator called Mary French and said that she spoke with McCallister, but chalked the alleged abuse up to McCallister’s dementia because the patient said her arms were being ripped off.
After the press conference, Paul French told the Haverford-Havertown Patch that he bought the camera online at the spur of the moment to bring a piece of mind to his wife. After five days the camera was installed in McCallister’s room, one of the abuses was recorded, he said.
The family’s attorney said Quadrangle’s parent company, Sunrise Senior Living, covered up the family’s complaints.
“After they complained that their mother might be abused, Sunrise covered it up and did not inform the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) as is required under the law. They broke the law and their promises to this family,” said attorney Robert Mongeluzzi of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, during the press conference. “This case is a case about an assault on human dignity.”
“… DPW did their job once the police got involved and once it became known to the public. But Sunrise hid that from them and covered it up. I think that’s one of the reasons why they got revoked,” Mongeluzzi said in regards to DPW revoking Quadrangle’s operating license on Friday, which the facility has already filed an appeal with the department.
However, Sunrise CEO Mark Ordan told Patch while in front of Quadrangle on Tuesday afternoon before going in to a town-hall style meeting in the facility to meet with residents, where the press was not allowed in, that Quadrangle was responsive.
“We report incidents. We are fully cooperative. The second we heard about this incident, I reflexively called the police. I reflexively called the family. We reached out immediately,” Ordan said. “So if I were trying to hide, I would have better ways to do it.”
However, a DPW report, which accompanies this article, into the alleged abuse stated that the facility was uncooperative with the department and that it fired one of the defendants before DPW could interview her. The report did not state which of the defendants was fired.
Ordan said that he would not comment on DPW’s report and its allegations against the nursing home, but did add that despite the French Family’s claims that no one from the facility called to apologize what allegedly happened to McCallister, Ordan said that he did speak with the family.
“Since I called personally, I don’t know how they could say something like that. I’m sure if we were looking at each other in the eye, (Paul French) wouldn’t say that,” he said. “I called personally. We spoke five times. It was the day the people were arrested.”
Ordan did condemn the alleged acts of the defendants.
“This is the alleged act of three people and three people who did something horrible and it doesn’t taint the rest of (Quadrangle),” Ordan said. “If someone commits murder, it doesn’t mean the citizens of the town are bad people.”
Mongeluzzi said that the French Family would file a lawsuit next week against Sunrise to find out exactly what happened to McCallister while she was in the facility and to improve the care of nursing home residents in the commonwealth.
Mongeluzzi said that in Pennsylvania a party cannot ask for a specific amount of money in a lawsuit, but said he hopes that the jury would compensate the family and would seek punitive damages.
Ordan’s only comment regarding the lawsuit was that it was the French Family’s choice to do so.
Besides jail time, the Frenches said they want the defendants to feel the pain and fear that they and McCallister felt.
But Paul French, who owns Jumpers Fun Center that he runs with his wife and he also works at the Philadelphia International Airport, did say that while the defendants were too young to care for patients with dementia properly, he did say that other Quadrangle staff were good at their job.
Traynham has not returned a voice message left for her by Patch. No one picked up the phone at Griffin’s place of residence and Muhammad’s number was not listed.