PITTSBURGH (AP) — The family of a woman who died of COVID-19 while working at a Pennsylvania nursing home that struggled to cope with the virus outbreak filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the home and its owners Wednesday.
The lawsuit filed in Pittsburgh by the family of Elizabeth Wiles, who was a housekeeper at the home, says the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver has had a history of safety and sanitation problems.
It alleges that leading up the start of the pandemic, the defendants “recklessly and wantonly created and/or permitted to exist facility conditions and work practices that created a perfect environment for an infectious disease to run rampant through facility staff and residents.”
It claims management of the 750-bed center withheld information as the coronavirus spread, and some staff walked off the job to demand access to sufficient protective equipment.
The defendants include Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services, owners Samuel Harper and Ephram Lahasky, and Healthcare Services Group Inc. of Bensalem, which the lawsuit said provided contract housekeeping and laundry services to Brighton.
The company issued a statement as Brighton Management, declining to comment on the pending litigation and expressing sympathy for victims of the virus.
The lawsuit states that at least 80 people have died at Brighton and that more than 350 residents and more than 100 staff have caught the virus. It describes how the National Guard was brought in to help the nursing home in May.
Wiles, 69, who worked at Brighton for nearly three decades, died May 10.
Brighton was sold by Beaver County in 2014 for $38 million.