More than 100 veterans died at a New York City housing complex after a devastating Covid outbreak that went unchecked by bosses, according to a lawsuit from families who claim their loved ones weren’t even told they had contracted the virus.
The New York State Veterans’ Home at St Albans (NYS-VH), Queens, suffered “one of the worst” virus outbreaks in the entire state during the height of the pandemic.
A civil suit filed on November 4 and reviewed by DailyMail.com claims that “at least 350” veterans and staff living at the facility were infected. Seriously ill veterans, many of whom were elderly and had other illnesses, were not given proper treatment or taken to hospital despite their condition, it is claimed.
According to the lawsuit, the veterans home, owned by the New York State Department of Health, was not suitable for the “vulnerable heroes” who lived there.
It adds: ‘Due to the defendant’s deliberate indifference, palpable by their shocking actions and glaring omissions, the NYS-VH became a hotbed of infection for its veterans/residents who were unnecessarily exposed and infected with (covid), ultimately becoming a death sentence for 100 veterans of our country.’
The New York State Veterans’ Home at St Albans (NYS-VH), Queens, suffered ‘one of the worst’ virus outbreaks in the entire state during the height of the pandemic, the lawsuit says
Veteran James Hutcherson, 93, died April 8, 2020 at the New York State Veterans’ Home in St. Albans
Family members of some veterans who contracted the virus were not told their loved ones were ill and only learned about the infection after their deaths, it has been claimed.
NYS-VH home has 250 beds for veterans and has been open since 1993.
The class action lawsuit names two veteran residents of the home who died due to “complications of Covid.” The lawsuit was filed by their families on behalf of other residents of the home who also contracted Covid and “experienced conscious pain, suffering, injury and death.”
Robert A. Loria died on April 14, 2020 after contracting Covid at home and “died due to complications” from the virus. His sister, Louise Loria Hanel, is the executor of Mr. Loria’s will and is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
The class action lawsuit names two veteran residents of the home who died due to “complications of Covid,” including James Hutcherson, who was 93.
The lawsuit states, “Robert A. Loria’s family was never notified that he was ill or that he even tested positive for COVID-19. The plaintiff, Louise Loria Hanel, recently received a phone call informing her that he had passed away.”
The second named plaintiff is Yvonne Maria Parson, the daughter of veteran James Hutcherson, 93, who died at the home on April 8, 2020.
‘In the days leading up to his death, it was noted that Mr. Hutcherson was refusing meals and fluids. However, his medical record contains no documentation supporting that the physician was informed of his increased risk of dehydration,” the lawsuit alleges.
“While at NYS-VH, James Hutcherson was exposed to and infected with COVID-19. He was never taken to a hospital. On April 8, 2020, James Hutcherson passed away at NYS-VH due to complications from COVID-19.”
Yvonne regularly visited her father, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia, and also paid his medical bills.
The suit was filed after the home faced criticism earlier in the pandemic over several claims of poor management.
The home was accused of giving veterans “experimental” Covid treatments at the height of the pandemic. One of the drugs included hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that former President Donald Trump was taking when he contracted the virus.
The lawsuit also points to another scandal in which nearly a thousand boxes of personal protective equipment, including masks, gowns and gloves, were left outside the facility to rot in June 2021, leading to an influx of rats and snakes.
Attorney Joseph Ciaccio, who filed the suit, wrote in the complaint: “This class action is brought because Defendant NYS-VH has clearly and egregiously failed to be stewards of the welfare of our nation and state’s veterans , by failing to act in a timely manner, protect their veterans/residents from exposure to a deadly COVID-19 outbreak in their facility.”
He alleged that “the House’s actions and inactions, including their delayed response to properly monitor staff, students, companions, assistants, and visitors to their institution, had caused one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in all of New York State ‘.
“It is utterly shameful how the defendants, who owed a duty of care to our state and nation’s veterans, have dragged their feet and left our vulnerable heroes at the mercy of the deadly virus,” the lawsuit said.
The New York State Department of Health said it does not comment on “pending litigation.”
The distraught families of nursing home residents fatally infected with COVID-19 have also filed an explosive lawsuit blaming disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (pictured) for “thousands” of deaths, DailyMail.com reported in August
Cuomo’s former “mean girl” aide Melissa DeRosa (pictured), former New York Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, and former executive deputy commissioner for the department Sally Dreslin are named as defendants in the case against the former mayor
The case is the latest linked to the spread of Covid in nursing homes in New York. In August, DailyMail.com revealed that other families of residents fatally exposed to the virus had filed a lawsuit blaming disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for “thousands” of deaths.
In their fiery legal attack, the group of eight accuses Cuomo of causing the “wrongful and untimely deaths” of their loved ones and more than 15,000 nursing home patients through his March 25 “lethal” directive.
Under this ‘shocking’ policy, nursing homes were forced to admit coronavirus patients despite knowing thousands of vulnerable residents would be exposed to the deadly virus in 2020.
The plaintiffs — the widows and children of eight residents who died while the policy was in effect — are suing Cuomo, along with several other high-ranking officials in his administration.
Cuomo’s former “mean girl” aide Melissa DeRosa, former New York Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, and former executive deputy commissioner for the department Sally Dreslin are named as suspects in the case.
A spokesperson for Cuomo said of the lawsuit: “It’s unfortunate that people’s pain continues to be politicized and weaponized to distort the truth — namely that the Department of Justice, twice the AG, the Manhattan DA and the Assembly have all criticized investigated this and found nothing there. This lawsuit is meritless and we expect a fair hearing in a court of law to confirm this.”