LA PLATA, Md. (WJZ) — Patrick Chesley’s 78-year-old mom Arlene never made it to Mother’s Day. She was taken off a ventilator after 17 days.
“That was the worst feeling I ever had in my life, watching her take her last breaths,” Chesley said. “It’s just horrible.”READ MORE: Busta Rhymes, Chaka Khan To Perform At AFRAM Festival, Will Be Held On Juneteenth Starting 2022
She is one of 34 residents at Sagepoint Senior Living in La Plata to die of the coronavirus, the most deaths of any nursing home in Maryland. One staff member has also died, according to numbers from the Maryland Department of Health.
Around half of the state’s total COVID-19 deaths have been residents at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, state health department data shows.
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The state hit Sagepoint with $10,000 each day in fines for violations that include failing to separate COVID-negative and positive patients and making staff wear protective gear.READ MORE: Fells Point Business Owners Meet With City Agencies On Recent Crime
In a lengthy statement, Sagepoint called the state’s claims “patently false” and blames Maryland regulators for “ineffective guidelines to prevent infections that left all nursing homes vulnerable.”
“We actively sought information in addressing issues. What we received was instead criticism, blame, and action by an agency only focused on covering themselves and making an example of a non-profit nursing home that lacks the financial and political resources to adequately face off with state and federal agencies,” the facility said.
For Chesley, the fines aren’t enough.
“That $10,000-a-day fine, it doesn’t appease me one bit. What’s going to appease me is justice, justice, justice — not just for my mom but for the 34 other residents of that nursing home and for all of the employees who have been sickened by this coronavirus,” Chesley said.MORE NEWS: Blood Donations Needed As US Faces Severe Shortage, Red Cross Says