Three months after losing her 87-year-old mother, Maxine Jordan-Gurnon is planning to take legal action against a private nursing home.
She told Barbados TODAY the pain of Beryl Jordan’s death on October 11, 2014 is still as raw as yesterday, not simply because of grief but because she believes her mother suffered gross mistreatment at the facility.
Jordan-Gurnon said she had to speak out because she wanted to ensure no other patient was treated the same way.
“I do not want this home to have an opportunity to do it to someone else’s mother,” she sobbed.
Jordan-Gurnon, who lives in Canada, said she admitted her diabetic mother to the nursing home on September 20, 2013.
“I took her there after researching homes. It wasn’t my first choice but she wanted to go there because a good friend was there and she figured it would help her make the transition. Everything seemed to be going well,” she recalled, adding that she checked on her mother once or twice a week.
“Every week I called I asked the same standard questions – How is my mom eating? How is she sleeping? Was she having any problems? But they always said she was fine.”
But in June last year, Jordan-Gurnon said signs emerged that all was not well as she was led to believe.
She said the situation quickly deteriorated after the home’s owner reported that her mother had a sore above her buttocks and she [the facility operator] was worried.
“I asked her ‘why are you worried about it?’ and she said ‘because it is healing slowly’. So I spoke to my mother’s doctor at the clinic, Dr Moore, and he said if it is healing slowly that is fine as long as it is healing because she is a diabetic.”
Jordan-Gurnon said she asked the home operator to inform her immediately if the healing process did not continue. She received reports up to mid-September that her mother was doing fine and the sore was healing.
However, on September 29, Jordan-Gurnon said she received a worrying phone call from the owner informing her that her mother had trouble breathing and the home’s doctor was called to look at the problem.
This was unsatisfactory to Jordan who instructed that her mother be taken to the hospital.
“It took her an hour and a half to call the ambulance for my mom,” Jordan-Gurnon charged.
She said her mother was attended to at the Accident and Emergency Department and the next day a surgeon informed her there was nothing more he could do for her mother because the sore was so bad.
“He said it was down to the bone and it had gangrene and she had a couple of days, a couple of weeks the most, to live; that all he could do is to make her comfortable and that in his over 15 years as a doctor he had never seen anything that bad; [he said] he thought that she was at home by herself, he couldn’t believe she was in a nursing home,” she said.
The elderly woman was discharged and returned to the home but Jordan-Gurnon said within days she got a call from one of the home’s workers informing her that her mother was not passing fluids.
She was admitted to the hospital and Jordan-Gurnon returned to the island on the next available flight and discovered that her mum was on oxygen and was being fed through a tube. She subsequently died.
With tears running down her cheeks, Jordan-Gurnon expressed anger at the turn of events.
She produced bank statements and receipts showing that the home was being paid $1,950 a month to take care of her mother.
“They basically tortured my mom, a helpless woman.
This should never ever have happened. I told [the owner] if she even got a pin prick – because I know how dangerous wounds are for diabetics – let me know.”
“My mother paid the ultimate price for they not doing their job,” Jordan-Gurnon said.
“I don’t want this to happen to anyone’s mother. Mothers are precious to us. I know the pain and suffering she must have went through and I don’t want anybody to go through that.”
When Barbados TODAY contacted the home, the owner confirmed that Beryl Jordan was a patient there. However, she insisted that when Jordan left her facility to be admitted to hospital she did not have gangrene.