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Neglected Nursing Home Residents Evacuated

November 25, 1987

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Six nursing home residents, one with deformities caused by neglect and others strapped into urine-soaked chairs, were placed in state custody after being removed from an unlicensed home, officials said.

The residents, ranging in age from 73 to 95, were transported by ambulance to Hillsborough County Hospital for an overnight medical evaluation, Gregory Mathison, district administrator of the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, said after examining the home Tuesday.

Some residents - none of whom are ambulatory - were found in beds covered with feces, and one resident was suffering from bedsores, he said.

The residents’ names and medical conditions were not immediately released. Mathison said doctors’ examinations revealed some of the injuries were more severe than inspectors first thought.

HRS said it would confer on Wednesday with families and guardians of the residents Wednesday to make arrangements for new places to live.

Mathison and a team of HRS officials, including a registered nurse, inspected the home Tuesday. Two residents were discovered in a narrow hall strapped in chairs wet with urine, said one HRS inspector.

One resident was developing deformed limbs, which were attributed to a lack of exercise, said one inspector.

Investigators began to scrutinize the home owned by Margaret Campbell after an anonymous tip that it was not licensed, said Mathison.

State law requires a license for any home caring for more than three people. Nine elderly residents paid $500 a month to live in Campbell’s home.

An inspection Oct. 30 revealed no evident problems of medical neglect or poor living conditions and residents’ families were told of the licensing problems, said Ed Folkes, an HRS program administrator.

HRS officials notified Campbell by mail and told her the home needed a license.

After making thrice-weekly visits to the home since the anonymous tip, HRS licensing inspectors noticed a steady decline in the living-area conditions in the single-story, wood-frame home, said Mathison.

No charges were filed against Campbell, Mathison said. Police were investigating, he said.

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