Video Shows Dying World War II Vet Gasping For Air While Nurses Laugh at Him
Disturbing hidden camera footage kept secret for three years shows a dying World War II veteran gasping for air and calling to help in an Atlanta nursing home as attending nurses ignored his pleas and fumbled with his oxygen tank, Georgia NBC News affiliate WXIA reports.
The video shows 89-year-old James Dempsey pleading for help before his death in the care of the for-profit Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center in February 2014. In the footage, recorded through a nanny-cam planted by his son Tim amid suspicions of mistreatment, Dempsey can be heard crying, “Help me! Help me! I can’t breathe.”
In the footage, one nurse is seen merely repositioned Dempsey, ignoring his pleas for help. She later returned with a second nurse and supervisor to find Dempsey unresponsive; the three are then shown mishandling the vet’s oxygen and cackling at their mistakes before switching to a few, inconsistent attempts at CPR.
The new video, published WXIA on Nov. 18, is damning. Dempsey’s family sued the nursing home following his death, and according to WXIA, part of the settlement agreement included the release six hours of video court deposition from the supervisor “explaining how she responded to the patient before she knew the hidden camera video existed” — an account completely contradicted by the newly-released secret footage.
The footage only became public after a DeKalb County judge rejected the nursing home’s legal attempts to keep the video sealed from public view. Two nursing home employees implicated in the video were not dismissed by the facility until 10 months after the footage was first recorded; according to the Associated Press, the employees didn’t even surrender their state nursing licenses until September 2017, when the NBC News affiliate “sent The Georgia Board of Nursing a link to the video.”