Family of missing woman want 750k from nursing home

The family of Mouy Tang, a North Carolina resident who disappeared in 2008, is seeking $750,000 in damages from Unique Living, the nursing home where Mouy lived at the time. Mouy was 46 years old, young for a nursing home, but she had severe mental and physical problems and on top of it all she didn’t speak English. The doctors say she could have not have survived without her diabetes medicine.

The nursing home was shut down a week after her disappearance, and deservedly so. From Mouy’s Charley casefile:

Other residents of Unique Living have gone missing from the facility for days at a time, and two have died inside the home from accidents. One resident, Kelly “Buck” Whitesides, disappeared from there in 2006, only a week after he moved in. His body was found eight days later, less than 1,000 feet from the facility; he had diabetes and a history of strokes and heart problems and had died of natural causes. A month after Whitesides’s body was located, another Unique Living resident signed himself out and didn’t return. He was found safe 100 miles away.

The facility was considered troubled. It had a poor sanitation rating and was repeatedly cited for violations. […] A committee working for the state Division of Health Service (DHS) recommended that the home be fined $50,000 for alleged safety violations.

And from another article:

Testimony from DSS officials, which has been previously documented in The Star, painted a picture of negligence well before Mouy’s disappearance.

Johnson said the facility’s revenue included roughly $1,000 per each of the more than 60 residents per month. Yet bills went unpaid.

Utility bills weren’t paid and neither was staff, Johnson said. DSS repeatedly had to intervene to prevent water and heat service from being terminated, she said. Even a dishwasher was repossessed.

Some doors that were supposed to be secure were broken at the time of Mouy’s disappearance, which enabled her to walk out the door and off grounds without being noticed.

It’s a terrible story.

My grandpa lives in a nursing home. I saw him today in fact. Grandma lived there too, until she died last summer. I think it’s a good place — Grandpa seems cheerful enough there — and there are coded locks on all the doors. I feel fortunate that he’s in a good facility and not one of those dungeons I’ve heard about.

7 thoughts on “Family of missing woman want 750k from nursing home

  1. Kat April 11, 2011 / 9:18 pm

    Unfortunately, I don’t think they will get a dime, and even a judgement won’t keep these people from opening up another shithole. And that is what a lot of these places are. The Golden Girls covered this back in the late 80’s (that’s what I’m watching now lol), and zippo has changed. People either can’t afford good care for the elderly, or they don’t care. We (as a people, and not just this country) treat the elderly like crap. Sadly, most of the people that work in these places are not the problem…they are overworked, understaffed, underpaid, and in some cases unqualified. Admin is the issue most of the time. I hope this family gets some closure out of this and good for them to bring this to the attention of us all… sad it takes a death (or twelve) to shut these places down.

  2. J.A. Scrambles-Ashmole, Bart. April 11, 2011 / 9:41 pm

    Waaaay back when, when a younger Scrambles was just a tot, I remember a first (and last) visit to a nursing home to see my great-great-aunt Edie – who was tied to the bed. With a rope! In a room with I’d say fifteen other old ladies. No nurses or orderlies in sight; they all looked like slow death. (Google the poet Philip Larkin’s “Heads in the Women’s Ward”. Exactly like that it was.) And this, in the main, was the way it was at most of those places then.

    Yes, it has gotten better. Not across the board better, but standards have risen. There will always be room for improvement, and there will always be those homes which lay waste to state-imposed rules. But progress has been made.

    • Kat April 11, 2011 / 10:13 pm

      Goodness, how old are you? I remember hearing about that from my Grandma, who is in her 90’s, but that was back in the “home country” as she says. I know it happened (and still does) everywhere, but that would not only freak me out, it’d give me nightmares. Poor understanding of mental illness yes, for sure, but just getting old around here seems to be a crime in and of itself.

      • J.A. Scrambles-Ashmole, Bart. April 12, 2011 / 12:49 pm

        Today’s my birthday. I’m much too old. But the Aunt Edie Incident occurred in the early- to mid-’60s. Also, the rope was painted white to give it that certain sanitary, antiseptic feel. Which did not exist, actually, in the rest of the home itself, and it’s hard to disguise rope from the hardware store. Aunt Edie was just old, not mentally off too much, and had a haunted look in her eyes. My dad got with other family members and she was taken out of that hellhole; the story ends happily as she did die at home, in her own bed, unroped.

    • Meaghan April 12, 2011 / 1:06 pm

      How common were nursing homes at that time? Until relatively recently in our nation’s history, most old people were cared for by their adult children at home. (Of course, until relatively recently, there weren’t as many of them. A combination of the baby boom and better healthcare has produced an unprecedented crop of old people.)

      I would have NEVER cared for my grandmother at home. Grandpa’s all right, but Grandma was the most depressing woman I ever met. It was like she had a gray cloud following her everywhere she went.

  3. Jer April 11, 2011 / 9:46 pm

    That’s some pretty Unique Living there. I think all mentally ill people in the world would be better off in a house by themselves rather than uniquely living in that place.

  4. forthelost April 11, 2011 / 10:19 pm

    My grandmother worked at a nursing home until her declining vision forced her to retire (she couldn’t drive to work anymore). She said that even the best nursing homes weren’t that great, and if she declined to the point she needed to be in one, to please kill her.

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