The family of a 76-year-old man with dementia is suing a South Holland nursing home claiming his caretakers coerced him into exposing his genitals on Facebook Live earlier this year.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of the man, identified as Reggie Doe, names the Holland Home nursing home, the corporations that own and manage it and four employees. The suit alleges the defendants violated the Nursing Home Care Act, caused distress to a mentally disabled victim, publicly revealed health information and acted negligently.
On July 15, the employees walked into Doe’s room “for the purpose of bullying and abusing” him, the suit claims. At the time of the incident, Doe had suffered a stroke and been diagnosed with dementia, and the caretakers targeted him because he was “vulnerable, disabled, and easily manipulated.”
The four employees named in the suit and two others had Doe take off his pants off and expose his genitals while they streamed the abuse on Facebook Live, according to the suit and a statement from Doe’s attorneys. The abuse then continued after the livestream ended.
In the video, a caregiver can be heard taunting Doe, according to the statement.
“Reggie, take off your pants, Reggie,” the caretaker is heard saying.
Doe’s daughter, identified in the suit as Jane Doe, filed the suit on behalf of her father and is named as a plaintiff.
“You hear about cyber-bullying and things like that, but you would never expect this to happen in a nursing home,” she said in the statement.
Doe’s attorneys noted that the webcast both humiliated him and was detrimental to his medical condition.
“Another thing that is particularly striking about this video, beyond the delight the participants seem to be taking in being so cruel, is just how many of them are in Mr. Doe’s room as it’s being recorded,” attorney Margaret Battersby Black said in the statement. “You have to wonder if there was anyone left to help supervise any other patients.”
Doe’s family is seeking $50,000 in punitive damages, according to the suit.
Holland Home, South Holland Home LLC and GS Healthcare Management LLC didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.