State Health Dept. under fire for handling of nursing home abuse

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Earlene Adkisson and her sister, Sandra Cisper, suspected someone was stealing from their mother at Quail Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

"When we looked at the camera and saw that; we couldn't believe it, unreal," she said.

The hidden camera video revealed so much more.

Eryetha Mayberry, 96, was being physically and emotionally abused by two caregivers.

That was April 16 of last year.

Citizen advocate Wes Bledsoe said, "I think it's an absolute failure by the Department of Health protecting nursing residents in Oklahoma."

Just outside the State Department of Health, Mayberry's family blasted the agency for not doing nearly enough to protect our most vulnerable citizens.

"If we had OSU and OU football teams ranking as low as this in the NCAA, the president and coaches would be fired," Bledsoe said. "Maybe we should fire people running these agencies to get better care for these nursing homes."

Mayberry's daughters said the agency has only cited a handful of nursing homes in recent years, despite abuse like this.

Cisper told us, "I think a bunch of people are not doing their jobs and need to be fired."

Officials with the Department of Health sent us this statement saying they were satisfied with Quail Creek's handling of the Mayberry case. 

"The nursing facility took prompt and appropriate actions to intervene and protect residents, and to conduct a thorough investigation. The Department of Health has zero tolerance for abuse or neglect of residents in nursing facilities."

Mayberry's daughters said they aren't convinced and believe it's up to families to monitor what's going on behind nursing home closed doors.

"It isn't just my mother, this is going on right now somewhere," she said. "Everybody needs to put cameras in rooms."

Senate Bill 587 addresses the issue of cameras in nursing home rooms. 

It's been watered down from the original version but will be considered on the Senate floor Tuesday morning.

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