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Woman says Halifax nursing home left injured mom without proper treatment for days

Tina Williams talks with her 73-year-old mother Nancy Kelsie at the Halifax Infirmary on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. Kelsie was injured on Jan. 21 at the Melville Lodge nursing home.
Tina Williams talks with her 73-year-old mother Nancy Kelsie at the Halifax Infirmary on Thursday. Kelsie was injured on Jan. 21 at the Melville Lodge nursing home. - Ryan Taplin
HALIFAX, N.S. —

A Beaver Bank woman says a nursing home did not get her mother proper care for four days after a fall left her with bleeding in the brain, fractures in her neck and spine and severe bruising.

Tina Marie Williams said she wants people to know what happened to her 73-year-old mother, Nancy Frances Kelsie, last week at Melville Lodge.

Williams was on vacation in Jamaica last Friday when she got a call advising her that her mom had sustained "a little bruise," after falling off her walker, Williams said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

"An hour later, I received another call from another nurse, and I could barely understand her because her English wasn't the best, 'Hi Tina, I just want to update you on your mother's falls,' plural," Williams said.

"Then I get a phone call from my daughter a couple of hours later telling me my mother had two brain bleeds, her neck was broke in two places, fractures in her spine, ribs broken on both sides, she lost her speech, she couldn't swallow, that it didn't look good."

- Tina Marie Williams

She said the second nurse told her that Kelsie had fallen off the toilet and banged her head. She had a bruise but was OK, Williams said the nurse told her.

Williams said she was told EHS had been called and the paramedics checked her mother out, followed by a doctor, who prescribed dilaudid and recommended letting her rest.

Still concerned, Williams called her daughter Tyrisha Kelsie.

"When my daughter walked in, she was in shock," Williams said, adding that Tyrisha took photos of the elder Kelsie's injuries. "And my daughter made them call 911 and take her to the emergency.

"Then I get a phone call from my daughter a couple of hours later telling me my mother had two brain bleeds, her neck was broke in two places, fractures in her spine, ribs broken on both sides, she lost her speech, she couldn't swallow, that it didn't look good. And here I was stuck in Jamaica, no way back."

Williams said she called Melville Lodge back and had some strong words with the head nurse, who then hung up on her.

Tina Williams talks with her 73-year-old mother Nancy Kelsie at the Halifax Infirmary on Thursday, January 30, 2019. Kelsie was injured on January 21 at her Melville Lodge nursing home. - Ryan Taplin
Tina Williams talks with her 73-year-old mother Nancy Kelsie at the Halifax Infirmary on Thursday, January 30, 2019. Kelsie was injured on January 21 at her Melville Lodge nursing home. - Ryan Taplin

She got back to Nova Scotia late Tuesday and went to the nursing home on Wednesday morning.

"And what that nursing home don't realize is I had an audio recorder going the whole time," Williams said. "And the worst thing that woman said to me was 'Your mother signed a DNR, so we were making her comfortable.'"

Williams, a former personal care worker at the same nursing home complex, said she replied that she knew that a DNR statement meant Do Not Resuscitate, but only if someone's heart stopped, if they stop breathing, or if they die during surgery, not if you have a fall.

The staff at Melville Lodge gave Williams copies of all the reports related to her mother from when the falls happened on Jan. 21.

"And the worst thing that woman said to me was 'Your mother signed a DNR, so we were making her comfortable.'"

- Tina Marie Williams

Still, Williams said her mom can't talk and she can't get any answers on the full extent of what happened.

"I used to work at the third building of that nursing home," Williams said. "All the people that I grew up with in Spryfield, I know half the workers there. Not one of those workers will contact me. But then late last night, I get a message from somebody that works in the nursing area, but not at that building, telling me 'Tina, they're all scared, something happened, I don't know what it is.'

"I did this for 25 years. I've never left a resident like that. But to leave them in a bed for four days bleeding in the brain? Explain to me where them nurses got their nursing degree."

Williams has since posted photos her daughter took on her Facebook page, along with details of her mother's situation.

James Balcom, chief operating officer of GEM Health Care, which owns Melville Lodge, said in a telephone conversation that he can't comment on the details of the case because of confidentiality rules.

He did say Melville Lodge was aware of the Facebook post and that there were a number of things in it "that are factually incorrect."

Balcom said the photos in Williams's Facebook post were not taken at the nursing home.

"Senior staff have been aware of the situation, have reviewed documentation and are confident that employees took the appropriate steps."

- Statement from GEM Health Care

Officials at GEM Health Care were in the process of writing a letter to the family about the incident and Kelsie's care that was to be sent by courier on Thursday.

"But we're certainly taking it seriously," he said. "We have done what is needed to be done. We've investigated. We're reporting the inaccuracy back to the the family. And (the Department of) Health, which is the authority having jurisdiction, is aware."

An emailed statement from GEM Health Care said the Lodge followed policies and procedures.

"Senior staff have been aware of the situation, have reviewed documentation and are confident that employees took the appropriate steps," the statement said.

Kelsie is now still at the QEII and no one can tell her daughter if she's going to live or die. If she survives, she faces a year to recover, Williams said.

With Williams and her husband Michael retired, they don't know where they'd get the money for a lawyer. They were also considering going to Halifax Regional Police to file a criminal complaint.

"My mother needs somebody to fight for her, and I just don't know where to go to get the help," Williams said.


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