PLANTATION KEY — In the last few weeks of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ lockdown on nursing homes, the health of an Upper Keys woman’s mother began to decline at a local facility due to what she alleges is neglect.
Stephanie Matlock Fouts’ 81-year-old mother, Nancy, a resident at the troubled Crystal Health & Rehabilitation Center in Islamorada, has lost about 40 pounds since August. She was recently admitted to the Baptist Health’s Homestead Hospital, where staff said she was severely malnourished and dehydrated, and had stage 2 bedsores and deep tissue injury to her sacrum, elbows and toes from not being moved from bed.
During the initial phase of the coronavirus pandemic, Matlock Fouts feared for the well-being of her mother who was on lockdown at Crystal Health, which at the time was plagued with a COVID-19 outbreak and what residents’ families described as a lack of communication from center staff and ownership.
The nursing home facility eventually contained the coronavirus and addressed other complaints filed with the Agency for Health Care Administration, the chief state health policy and planning entity that oversees healthcare providers.
Ira Chafetz, a co-owner of the facility, previously placed some of the blame of lack of communication on the former director who was replaced with Trevor Matchim.
As the months lagged on, Matlock Fouts noticed her mother’s health deteriorate during her FaceTime calls.
“Last Monday, she was sitting there in almost like a zombie state while she was in physical therapy,” Matlock Fouts said. “She was not responsive and she didn’t look right.
“My mother weighed 141 pounds in June, in July and on Aug. 1. The whole situation unfolded when she fell out of bed on Aug. 12 and again on Aug. 28 and fractured her pelvis. There were no precautions in place. They could have lowered her mattress to the floor.”
Through September, her mother’s weight loss became more evident.
Matlock Fouts says the nursing home staff told her that her mother was eating and doing well.
“They assured me she was eating up to 75% of her food and said that she was healing from her fall, and when I questioned [the weight loss], the doctor thought maybe she has an ulcer,” Matlock Fouts said.
Her mother was missing personal items, wasn’t wearing her own clothes and was in terrible physical condition, according to Matlock Fouts.
“Because of COVID, I have been unable to see her regularly. This all started after my mother fell and she was bed ridden for days and left to starve to death and was not taken care of,” Matlock Fouts alleges. “I want to share my story so that this facility is held accountable and that this never happens to anyone else.”
As of Monday, Matlock Fouts’ mother was still undergoing extensive clinical testing to assess her physical condition and combat her malnutrition.
Matlock Fouts also said it’s been a struggle to get her mother’s medical records from Crystal Health.
Neither Chafetz, co-owner Jacob Walden nor Matchim returned phone calls from the Free Press before press time.