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Lawsuits Filed against Granite Creek Nursing Home for COVID Violations

Posted on April 21, 2021 in

In July 2020, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) conducted an investigation into Granite Creek Health & Rehabilitation Center in Prescott, Arizona, concerning the spread of COVID-19 among residents and staff. The reckless behavior of Granite Creek administrators contributed to nearly 50 cases of COVID-19 and 15 deaths.

Attorneys Sean Phelan and Christopher Jensen of Jensen Phelan Law Firm, P.C., have recently filed five lawsuits against Granite Creek, four of which were for wrongful death and the last for illness and injury. The following information details the wrongful death action for the estate of Jeffery P. Vetere vs. Granite Creek Health and Rehabilitation Center and affiliates.

Jensen Phelan Sues Granite Creek on Behalf of the Estate of Jeffery P. Vetere

63-year-old resident of Granite Creek, Jeffery Vetere, died on June 23, 2020, of a viral pneumonia after becoming ill with COVID-19 at the facility. Mr. Vetere was classified as a vulnerable adult by the Adult Protective Services Act (APSA), which defines a vulnerable adult as:

“…an individual who is 18 years of age or older and is unable to protect himself from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by others because of a physical or mental impairment.”

As such, Granite Creek Health and Rehabilitation Center et al., Defendants, recklessly, negligently, grossly, intentionally, willfully, and wantonly violated APSA regulations, thereby exposing Mr. Vetere to COVID-19 and resulting in his death.

ADHS Investigation Report Details COVID-19 Outbreak at Granite Creek

ADHS performed an investigation into Granite Creek in June of 2020 called the COVID-19 Focused Infection Control Survey. The results of the study show that Granite Creek created hazardous conditions for staff and residents by being noncompliant with infection control protocols. Here’s a closer look at their findings:

  • Nurse practitioners and licensed nurses did not follow proper handwashing or droplet precautions for COVID-19.
  • Symptomatic and positive employees as well as those showing signs of COVID-19 were allowed to care for residents, placing them in “immediate jeopardy.” The investigation also found that staff were showing obvious signs of COVID-19, such as coughing, sore throat, and headache, and had access to both COVID-19 negative and positive residents. Employees with symptoms notified the staff coordinator and asked for the day off. They were informed they would need to work their shifts.
  • According to the ADHS, employee screening logs were altered by Granite Creek employees, specifically by scribbling over, crossing out, and writing over them. Ten employees had reported feeling ill but were forced to work.

The Wrongful Death of Jeffery Vetere

Mr. Vetere became a resident of Granite Creek in 2012. He lived with multiple sclerosis and suffered from severe muscle weakness, muscle spasms, anxiety, and osteoporosis. Mr. Vetere’s vulnerability to COVID-19 was pointed out by Granite Creek in March 2020, and they addressed the need to reduce his risk. Over the course of two months, Mr. Vetere seemed to be doing well.

Then, on June 17, 2020, Mr. Vetere was suspected to have the virus after developing a low-grade fever and cough. He received a chest x-ray, nebulizer treatments, medications, and was isolated from others. On June 19, 2020, he tested positive for COVID-19 and was having trouble breathing and communicating. Later, his fever reached 105.6 and he was given morphine for his pain. He passed away on June 23, 2020.

Granite Creek Health and Rehabilitation Center et al., Defendants, directly violated APSA guidelines and failed to uphold their duty to reasonably care for and protect Mr. Vetere from known dangers.

Contact Granite Creek Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

It is painful to lose a loved one. When a death occurs due to another person or entity’s negligence, it is even more devastating. A sudden unexpected death within your family can lead to severe emotional and financial hardship. Families that have suffered at the hands of someone else’s negligence or recklessness may be able to seek legal compensation for wrongful death.

If your family member suffered from exposure to or fatal exposure to COVID-19 at Granite Creek, the experienced attorneys at Jensen Phelan Law Firm can help your family navigate this difficult time. Speak to our Granite Creek wrongful death and nursing home abuse attorneys over a free consultation by calling (928) 910-7268 or filling out our online contact form today.