Disturbing details have emerged about the White Owl Manor personal care home in Mahanoy City that caused state officials to close the facility on Friday.
According to the RepublicanHerald.com, the home failed to report the deaths of three residents in June. “We issued an emergency relocation order this morning. We feel the health and safety of the residents are in danger,” said state Department of Public Welfare spokeswoman Anne Bale.
The article added that Schuylkill County Coroner Joseph E. Lipsett said there were no pending investigations on any of the deaths at White Owl Manor and that they were cleared as not suspicious.
Relocation of the facilities 32 residents began immediately on Friday and the Department of Welfare gave no advance warning before shutting down White Owl Manor. Michael Race, the director of communications for the Department of Welfare, said, “The department, in conjunction with local human services agencies, works with residents and their family members to identify new homes of the residents’ choosing that can safely meet residents’ needs. The team helps residents pack belongings, contacts new homes to arrange transportation and takes steps to minimize any anxiety residents may experiences as a result of the action. The department also pays for the residents’ care at the new homes until permanent financial arrangements can be made.”
According to the article, the only way that White Owl owner James F. McGill, Jr. could reopen the home is if a court rules in his favor on the appeal he filed after the department revoked his license to operate the home. However, someone else could apply for a license to operate White Owl and the department would rule on the application within 60 days.
Along with the unreported deaths, there have been other violations at White Owl personal care home. On April 30, a staff member abused a resident by dragging the resident out of bed, kicking, hitting, and cursing the resident, but the home did not report the incident to the department. On May 1, the same staff member pushed, curse, and yelled at another resident. The facility allowed a 20-year-old employee to work independently on numerous occasions. There were eight days when no employees were present at the home who were certified in first aid and CPR. Medical evaluations of residents were incomplete and in some cases there was no indication that some residents had been given an annual medical evaluation. As a result of these violations, the owner McGill was fined.
In the article, Race is quoted as saying, “The department will not levy additional penalties against McGill, but has referred the case to local law enforcement for possible criminal investigation.”
In addition to the violations, the owner of White Owl personal care home was accused earlier this year of access device fraud and identity theft when he authorized an ATM care in the name of an elderly man and spent nearly $5,000. According to the article, McGill obtained the card of a former White Owl resident and used it during August 2010. McGill pleaded not guilty to the charges during a preliminary hearing. Three charges were held for court and the requirement was issued that McGill not visit White Owl Manor. Although he was not permitted to enter the building, he made all the decisions, according to staff. He is free on bail while awaiting county court action on the charges.
The mistreatment of any elderly person as mentioned in the violations above that happened at White Owl Manor is unacceptable. It’s hard to imagine this happening in our own home county. Michael J. O’Connor & Associates has built a reputation from defending those who cannot defend themselves. If you know someone who did not receive adequate treatment at While Owl Manor, you may have a case. Contact us at 1-800-518-4LAW to see how we can help you.