A homecare worker was caught on surveillance punching an elderly dementia patient at least 11 times while changing his diaper.
The Ottawa Citizen reports that although staff members at the Garry J. Armstrong long-term care home in Ottawa were aware that the patient’s family installed a high-definition camera in his room, it didn’t stop one of the workers from abusing 89-year-old Georges Karam. The incident took place on March 8, shortly after Karam’s grandon installed the camera after finding a number of unexplained injuries on the patient’s body.
The video showed Karam lying in bed while staff worker, Jie Xiao, 40, stood over him and yanked him violently while changing his diaper. As Karam raised his trembling hand in protest, Xiao smacked it away several times. Karam swiped his hand again and when it came close to Xiao’s face, the staff worker unleashed a series of hard blows to the elderly man’s face. He paused for a few seconds before delivering a final, harsh punch.
Xiao left the room briefly. When he returned he gestured to his face and pointed at Karam’s hand before pulling a blanket over the patient and leaving.
Daniel Nassrallah, Karam’s attorney grandson, watched the ordeal unfold via the Internet. He said he was shocked to see it happen so blatantly, especially considering the large surveillance camera was in plain view and hard to miss. After consulting with his uncle, Nassrallah called 911.
“I literally stood up and fell down, my legs gave way because I didn’t know how to respond to this,” Nassrallah said. “We have a camera on him, and even that doesn’t deter him. To me, that’s mind blowing.”
Nasrallah and his brothers agreed to meet the police at the nursing home. As he was going up the elevator, Nasrallah spotted Xiao and asked him to come with him to Karam’s room. Once they arrived to the room, Nasrallah played the video to authorities, who were already waiting inside. Xiao was placed into cuffs immediately.
According to Janice Burelle, the City of Ottawa’s general manager of community and social services, Xiao was fired “and is no longer with the City of Ottawa.”
Nasrallah said that his grandfather, who suffers from dementia, speaks little English and has enough difficulties as is communicating with staff members.
“My grandfather can’t fly, he can’t run away, he can’t get away from the situation, he’s immobile. His hands are being held, he’s being demeaned, he’s being thrown around in some instances, he’s not being taken care of properly….This is torture, this is punishment, this is cruel treatment.”
Nasrallah also mentioned another incident in which a different staff worker was caught on film rummaging through Karam’s belongings. On a different occasion, another staff member was caught taunting the elderly man, smacking his bed, and dancing out of his room. Nasrallah is now pushing for a change so that other patients aren’t treated with the same disregard.
“I want change and I’m not going to stop until we get change. The system is broken and it needs change.”
[Feature Photo: Screenshot/DNG Nasrallah Law]