Assisted Living Facility Under Investigation

63 year old Pearl McDonald has a multitude of health problems. She uses a wheelchair to get around. Her home for 6 and a half years has been Country Cottage.  She says, "I've seen standards go down. I've seen people who don't care. I've seen neglect, indifference, coldness, sickness."

She complained to management at Country Cottage and sshe says she was scolded.... So she took her complaints to the State Health Department...which regulates assisted living facilities.

Dr. Don Williamson, the State Health Officer says), "What we found were extraordinarily serious problems related to patients falling, patients and the sprinkler system not working.. There not being adequate protection."

Instead of getting better, things got worse.

Mrs. McDonald says,  "...(They), just a lot of things... They threatened ... They raised my rent"....

According to this "patient assessment" the rent went up because Ms. Mcdonald's level of care is increasing.... Even going so far as to call her a diabetic in need of insulin. Ms. Mcdonald is not a diabetic.

She adds,  "I guess to increase the rent, they put it down, never realizing it's reckless endangerment."

This document also points to her complaints and needing help to bathe, which tickles her funny bone, "If somebody's helping me bathe and stuff i've not seen them yet. Ha ha ha ... This body of mine ....ha ha.. I'm not apt to show it off and I'm big, but not so fat that it takes 2 people to bathe it ha ha ha."  And then there is the  final straw......   "... And they finally evicted me."

The state's "top doc" at the state health department says this is serious."  Dr. Don Williamson says,    "For filing a complaint, a client can not be retaliated against."   Williamson says if there is retailiation, the health department can close down the facility. Yet this letter evicts Pearl. And this embarrassing memo was posted in all of the residences.

So how does Country Cottage answer these charges?   Attorney Mark Givhan represents Country Cottage. He faxed us a reply, including this statement: "while Country Cottage does not necessarily agree with the findings of the department, Country Cottage is committed to resolving the department's concerns as quickly as possible."

Pearl says she's made other arrangements but is sad to be leaving.

She says, "Because it's such a beautiful place. It has so much potential . It could be one with a waiting list."

She says she will miss her friends.

Reporter:   Ashley Anderson