THE search for a suspect in the abduction/rape of a nursing home resident continues

Saturday, May 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police are still working on a rape case that began with an abduction of an elderly woman from a nursing home. No arrest has been made. A former administrator at the home claims the safety of patients was jeopardized by understaffing.

KOTV's Emory Bryan says the Southern Hills Retirement Community serves both the elderly who can care for themselves and Alzheimer’s patients with profound disabilities. But a former administrator claims the Alzheimer’s unit was so chronically understaffed, she had to quit because of the workload. Attorney for the administrator, JR Potts, "When she took the job as administrator she discovered that the managers at Southern Hills weren't going to give her adequate staffing and in fact, retaliated against her for asking for additional staffing." Former administrator Krystal Baney has filed a lawsuit claiming Southern Hills, "refused to maintain adequate staffing levels in an attempt to inflate profit margins." The company asked a judge to dismiss the suit saying the "petition, fails to articulate how plaintiff was damaged in a manner recognized by Oklahoma law."

The company denies the home is understaffed. In the lawsuit, the former administrator claims patients were told they would receive round the clock care, but they would only get that kind of care if she worked long shifts, as long as 36 hours straight - while caring for as many as 30 patients by herself. JR Potts, "She did report to local managers and was advised not to contact corporate under threat of termination." Adding, "she got to the point where her own health and mental well being was at stake."

The administrator behind the lawsuit quit after four months. The lawsuit was filed just over a month ago, and could take years to resolve. The State Health Department investigated a claim of inadequate staffing at Southern Hills but could not confirm it. The state sets minimum staffing levels for nursing homes, and regulates their care of patients.