SNF accused of 'downplaying' fatal injuries of resident beaten by fellow resident

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A New York nursing home has come under fire for allegedly understating the severity of fatal injuries one resident sustained after she was beaten by another resident.

Ruth Murray, 82, was reportedly beaten after she mistakenly entered the room of a fellow resident with dementia at Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Buffalo, NY, in late August. Attorneys for Murray's family said the other resident, an 83-year-old man, had displayed violent tendencies in the past.

Murray suffered a broken neck, broken ribs, facial fractures and a collapsed lung during the incident. She died three days later.

Despite Murray's extensive injuries, attorneys for the family claim Emerald South staff downplayed the injuries on her transfer record from the nursing home to a local hospital. Murray's record reportedly listed a laceration to her temporal area, a scratch to the bridge of her nose and a hematoma on her back.

“We believe the deception started the minute after this attack took place,” Michael Scinta, an attorney for the family, told WIVB4 last week. “They knew from the get-go they were going to try to cover this up, and trying not to allow the truth to come out.”

Investigations into the incident are currently being conducted by Emerald South and the state Department of Health.

In a statement to the Buffalo News, Emerald South gave condolences to Murray's family and said staff would cooperate with authorities during the investigation.

“Emerald South strives to offer a supportive, caring and safe environment for all of our residents,” the statement reads. “To protect the confidential and private health information of those involved in this matter, we will not release any further information at this time.”