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Nurse Disputes Maggot Testimony

January 30, 1986

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) _ There is no truth to allegations that maggots bred in a bedsore on an elderly nursing home patient, a licensed vocational nurse has testified in the Autumn Hills murder-by-neglect trial.

Mary Harris, who worked at an Autumn Hills nursing home in Texas City, said she never saw maggots there.

Ms. Harris testified Wednesday in the murder trial of Autumn Hills Convalescent Centers Inc. and four of its current and former employees.

They are charged in the Nov. 20, 1978, death of 87-year-old Elnora Breed, who died 47 days after she was admitted to the Autumn Hills home in Texas City.

The state claims poor nursing care caused Mrs. Breed to die of starvation and infection.

The defense claims Mrs. Breed died of a recurrence of colon cancer.

In earlier testimony, nursing aide Sherel Johnson told the court she found maggots in a bedsore on Mrs. Breed’s body.

Ms. Johnson testified she told Ms. Harris about the maggots.

″Is there any truth to that story?″ defense attorney Tom Sartwelle asked.

″No, there is not,″ Ms. Harris said.

Another witness, registered nurse Ann Wright, testified she went to work at Autumn Hills Nov. 15, 1978.

″Did you form an opinion when you first walked into the nursing home about whether the patients were receiving adequate nursing care?″ Sartwelle asked.

″I was very impressed with Autumn Hills nursing home when I first walked in - based mostly on the absence of odor, which serves as a criteria for me about whether there is good care,″ Ms. Wright said.

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