LIVONIA, MI (AP) – The family of an elderly Lebanese man is suing a Michigan nursing home, alleging a hidden camera captured footage of the abuse and some caretakers directed ethnic slurs toward the man.
Hussein Younes, 89, was seeking care at Autumnwood of Livonia in 2015 after a bowel obstruction surgery. His son, Salim Younes, grew concerned after noticing his father had several bruises, cuts and significant weight loss.
“They blamed his injuries on him falling 11 times over a five-month period,” said Jonathan Marko, the family’s lawyer.
Salim Younes hid a camera in an alarm clock next to his father’s bed. The family gathered more than 100 clips documenting neglectful behavior over two days, Marko said.
The family removed Hussein Younes from the facility in December 2015.
The lawsuit alleges caretakers physically abused and hurled ethnic slurs at Younes. The complaint also alleges Younes was denied water, had his call button taken from him and had his legs run into a wall while in a wheelchair.
The actions may have been racially motivated, Marko said.
“He’s an elderly Lebanese gentleman who was born and grew up in Lebanon,” Marko said. “He’s an Arab-American, and because of that, he was targeted as this nursing home and horribly abused.”
The company conducted an internal investigation and reported the allegations to several government agencies after learning of the complaints in December 2015, but wasn’t able to substantiate the allegations at the time, said the company’s attorneys. Autumnwood wasn’t made aware of the video until May 2016.
“The actions depicted in the video are in no way illustrative of the quality care that is provided by the caring staff at Autumnwood on a daily basis,” the company said in a statement.
The employees in the video have been fired and other employees are receiving additional training, according to attorneys for Autumnwood.
The civil trial begins in June.