PITTSBURGH, Pa. (KDKA) – A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center in Beaver County.
Latest data from the Department of Health reports 73 residents have died at Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center, while 332 residents and 109 staff members tested positive. It was the hardest hit facility in the state.
The family of Elizabeth Wiles, who was a housekeeper at Brighton, filed the lawsuit in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. The complaint claims the facility’s owner-operator and contractors didn’t protect workers, residents and visitors from coronavirus. Wiles, 69, died in May from COVID-19.
The Department of Health released a report of their inspection findings, which detailed various situations where inspectors found employees lacked masks, did not social distance, did not properly disinfect items and various bathrooms did not have soap or paper towels.
The report said Brighton failed to maintain infection prevention and control, which placed residents in nine of the eleven nursing units in “immediate jeopardy.”
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Vanessa Sherod, who is administering her mother’s estate, called Wiles a “hero-mom who beat cancer, who was as passionate about her job as she was her own four children, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.”
The family’s attorney, David Kwass, claims Wiles began to express concern to her supervisor as the virus began to overwhelm the facility.
“She was being told that she was overreacting, she had to come to work, everything was fine, get in here and do your job,” Kwass said.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday against Brighton and 10 other defendants, points to a history of state Department of Health citations from 2014-19.
“That speaks to an attitude and temperament of ownership and management that says this is something that’s not important to us,” Kwass said.
The wrongful death lawsuit is seeking a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages.
Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center released a statement, saying:
“While we cannot comment on pending litigation, we mourn those who have passed away from this virus.”