Former employee shares poor conditions at Carthage senior facility after 4 deaths reported

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CARTHAGE, Texas (KETK) – Briarcliff Skilled Nursing Center in Carthage has updated its COVID-19 case numbers which included a recent death in the facility.

As of Wednesday, 34 people at Briarcliff have tested positive for the coronavirus including 23 residents. The first two deaths were reported on April 14 with the third reported on Monday. The fourth reported Wednesday.

The increase of numbers led an employee to leave the facility out of fear for her health and safety.

“I said you know what, I can’t do this anymore,” said the former employee, who asked to stay anonymous.

Starting from the first case, she said there was no transparency. A co-worker first alerted her of a resident testing positive, but not to tell others.

“She told me please don’t tell them I told you because you’re not supposed to know,” the former employee said.

Because of the lack of knowledge, the resident went to a birthday party during lockdown which led to the resident’s roommate testing positive.

A nurse began treating both residents, but did not have proper gear.

“She didn’t get the N95 mask until after she had been working with her all day,” the former employee said.

The same nurse worked a double shift while also working with residents in several halls.

“They sent her down there to work with no change of clothes, no shower, nothing like that, and I didn’t agree with that,” the former employee said.

Out of concern, a family member of a resident contacted the Texas Health and Human Services Department.

“There were other findings and they need to address those first but it didn’t sound good, lets just put it that way,” said the family member who also asked to remain anonymous.

They expressed concerns about taking their loved one home but said it becomes difficult with the lack of information and recent lockdown of facilities.

Briarcliff Skilled Nursing Center in Carthage released a statement which can be below:

Like most nursing facilities in our nation, Briarcliff Skilled Nursing Facility (“Briarcliff”) has been affected by this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the well-publicized challenges facing all healthcare providers, we are striving daily to adhere to all guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (“HHSC”).
We continue to report our facility-specific COVID-19 outbreak statistics on our website in an effort to demonstrate transparency to our residents, family members and the community at large. The safety of our residents and staff remains our top priority. Out of an abundance of concern, we have utilized outside staffing resources other than our facility staff in an effort to ensure appropriate staffing levels and quality care. Such resources are subject to screening, testing and other precautions applicable to facility staff members. In addition, to the greatest extent possible, we attempt to maintain designated assignments for all direct care employees, including those assigned to the specialized units.
We want to thank our dedicated staff and all frontline healthcare workers across the country for their diligence, commitment and determination to ensure the health and safety of our most vulnerable citizens during this pandemic.

Briarcliff Skilled Nursing Center in Carthage

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