Pearl Harbor vet denied entry to center
WALSENBURG, Colo. (AP) ” A veteran who narrowly escaped death at Pearl Harbor has been denied hospitalization at the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home because his family complained about his treatment during previous stays.
Elroy Martinez, 88, suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s, and caring for him his overwhelming his wife, Stella, who is 83. “It’s killing me,” she told the Pueblo Chieftain.
Officials at the center say they have a right to refuse patients, and wonder why if his care was inadequate before his family wants him to return. He was last admitted in December 2006 and stayed for six days.
Nancy Corsentino, director of nursing at the facility, said the family claimed he was abused, and may even have been sexually abused. Corsentino said she investigated immediately, questioning everyone who came into contact with Martinez.
“We take abuse very seriously around here,” Corsentino said. She determined that a bruise he suffered most likely occurred after he returned home.
Mrs. Martinez said that while she still believes her husband fell at the center, she never threatened to sue and has always been happy with care at the facility. “They lie about everything,” she told The Associated Press on Sunday.
She said she cannot lift him when he falls. He cries when he remembers the war.
Mrs. Martinez said she tried to admit her husband into the veterans nursing home again in March 2007 for a short-term stay, so that she could be with their daughter in Denver who was battling cancer. Nursing home Administrator Gary Dickey told her he couldn’t find a doctor willing to oversee Martinez’s care, she said.
“We’ve been blackballed,” said Dale Martinez, his son.
“He’s a very sweet veteran,” Corsentino said. “We were able to meet Roy’s needs, but we just weren’t able to meet the family’s expectations.”
Dickey said the nursing home must reserve the right to choose patients who are a good fit for the center in order to protect the center and its residents. He suggested to the family that they find a facility in Pueblo that could meet their needs.
Dale Martinez said Mrs. Martinez is partially blind and cannot drive herself to Pueblo for visits. Dale Martinez admits to losing his temper with facility staff after he found the bruise, but he doesn’t think they should hold it against his father.
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