LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (WLS) -- A suburban woman says improper care at an area nursing home may have contributed to a horrible infection in her husband's legs. He died two weeks later at an area hospital.
The same nursing facility faced separate complaints about a major shortage of staff in May, which left seniors at the facility without medical care for several hours last year when new management took over.
Diane Lively believes her husband's wounds were not properly cared for after that new management started.
"That was on our wedding day, he was only 69," she said while looking at photos.
Lively said her husband David was her best friend and the love of her life. When she first moved her husband to Wellshire Warren Barr nursing home, she said his legs wounds from diabetes were being treated properly. Then, in May of 2023, the nursing home changed owners and was renamed Wealshire Center of Excellence.
"When this other organization, Wealshire, took over, everything was dropped. I mean they didn't seem to take care of him," she said.
Lively claims that new staff was not properly caring for her husband's wounds. She was also alarmed by another incident on May 1, the exact date of the ownership changed.
Families of residents called police and state officials said there was not enough medical staff onsite to care for the 108 residents.
A state report obtained by the I-Team said that there was no medical director on staff, and no licensed nurses in the building from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Multiple residents were taken to the hospital or home by family, due to lack of care. It also said some patients did not receive their morning medications.
A nursing home spokesperson told the I-Team in May that it was "cooperating with the Illinois Department of Public Health's review. The facility is fully staffed and meets all state requirements for care."
IDPH said the investigation has now concluded and that "there was a notice of violation" for violations including failing to have adequate nursing staff. They added that the maximum fine could be $25,000, but that won't be determined until an "enforcement proceeding is completed."
Several weeks after that staffing issue, Lively' s husband was taken to the hospital for "confusion and paranoia." According to the National Library of Medicine, confusion can be caused by sepsis.
At the hospital, Lively saw that her husband's leg wounds were so bad you could see his discharge and his bones. The pictures are too graphic to show in detail.
A hospital report states, "He was diagnosed with lower extremity cellulitis and sepsis" and treated "with broad-spectrum antibiotics." The report said the sepsis was associated the wound infection.
"They were just, they were horrid," Lively said. "His legs were all red, infected and on the left side of his calf, you could see the tendons."
Lively said he died two weeks later. The death certificate lists "acute respiratory failure" as the immediate cause of death with sepsis as one of a number of other contributing factors.
"You lose somebody and you don't think it was a necessary thing, it wasn't like he had cancer and this was just his time. It was because they weren't taking good care of him," she said.
Lively complained to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Wealshire Center of Excellence facility was cited for an "improper nursing care" violation in Lively' s case. However, the agency also determined that "there is no credible evidence" for other claims brought by Lively, such as neglect.
The I-Team emailed and called the nursing home several times and did not receive a response. When we didn't hear back, we stopped by and left a card.
A media spokesperson on-site said "no comment," but later today issued the following statement:
"We are deeply saddened for the family. The safety and well-being of our residents is our utmost priority. We worked closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health last year. While the findings consistently supported The Wealshire and the quality of care we provide, we regret any distress caused to the family. Our commitment to transparency and collaboration with our residents and their families is unwavering. We want to reassure our residents, their families, and the healthcare community that we are committed to continuous improvement and maintaining the highest standard of care."
"He was my best friend, he was my love, I miss being able to talk to him on the phone, I just, I'm alone," Lively said. "I don't have any other family so it's hard, I miss him."
Lively said IDPH's investigation into her complaint was concluded with that one violation.
If you have a nursing home complaint you can file a complaint with IDPH.