Nursing home advocate challenges health department’s investigation of “deplorable” center

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LINDSAY, Okla. - A nursing home advocate is challenging the state's health department, alleging their recent investigation was seriously flawed.

"This is insane. This is unacceptable," said Wes Bledsoe, CEO of 'A Perfect Cause.' "These are human beings. They are suffering human rights violations. These are crimes against humanity."

Bledsoe visited the Lindsay Nursing & Rehab center in February after he said residents approached him with concerns. He took photos of what he described as "deplorable" conditions including a non-working toilet, missing ceiling panels and water stains.

However, the January investigation from the Oklahoma State Department of Health found “no deficiencies were cited" during an unannounced visit. They were there due to allegations of a resident not being cleaned in a timely manner.

"Why did they allow that to happen?" Bledsoe said. "There is nobody on this planet that can tell me that those conditions in these pictures and the other pictures that I have happened in the last four months, much less in the last month."

An administrator refused to answer our questions on camera, but he told us the rooms in question were never used by residents. We're told they have repaired all of the damages since Bledsoe's February visit and they will be ready for people to reside in shortly.

Jennifer Johnston, a former nurse at the center, said she left Lindsay Nursing & Rehab due to understaffing issues, however she claimed the conditions in the pictures were nothing new.

"Those pictures are something I’ve seen since January 2017," Johnston said. "There was a sewage leak that wasn’t repaired for two weeks to a month. The smell was hideous. It was horrible. In a vent for the air conditioning, there were bird nests. A lot of times, my other weekend nurses and I would have to clean up bird mess from the vents."

The center's administrator said he could not comment on Johnston's experience since he was not there at the time she was employed. They did not have a comment regarding this new complaint.

A spokesperson for the Oklahoma State Department of Health sent us a brief statement on Bledsoe's complaint:

"Anytime we receive additional information about a complaint, we will evaluate that information to determine if further action is necessary."

We asked for contact information for the owner of the center in Lindsay with respect to Johnston's claims. We were told our request for a comment would be forwarded to the proper officials. We have not heard back yet.

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