Six families of children who either died or were sickened in a viral outbreak at one New Jersey nursing facility are suing its medical director and staff. They’re motivated by a recent government investigation, the results of which the center has called “fundamentally inaccurate” and “sensational.”
The group earlier filed suit against the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in November, after an outbreak of the adenovirus there killed 11 and sickened dozens more. They amended the complaint this week to also name the pediatric care facility’s medical director and 15 licensed nurses and respiratory therapists, NJ Advance Media reported Tuesday.
Attorneys are keying in on comments made by Maged Ghaly, M.D., the medical director for Wanaque, who told investigators, “I knew we had a problem after the fourth death.” Family members claim they were not informed quickly enough about the outbreak, wasting precious time to transport children to the hospital.
Wanaque does not comment on pending litigation, however, the provider’s attorney has called the government report resulting from a recent investigation incorrect at its core, with “sensational accusatory conclusions that lack any support whatsoever.” The provider has defended its medical director, a board-certified pediatrician, saying he “is completely familiar with the individual medical histories of each resident.”
The center was issued a $600,000 immediate jeopardy citation, with federal inspectors claiming they found system failures that “directly contributed” to the spread of the virus. Ghaly allegedly failed to grasp the severity of the crisis and did not keep track of how many were infected.
The center is now appealing those findings. In the meantime, it is still barred from admitting ventilator-dependent pediatric patients.