Hidden-Camera Footage Shows a Veteran's Callous Death

James Dempsey fell unconscious; later, laughter is heard
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2017 7:29 AM CST

In a video deposition, Wanda Nuckles answered questions about the 2014 death of a patient under her watch in the affirmative: Yes, she began doing chest compressions on 89-year-old James Dempsey after being told he had stopped breathing at the Georgia nursing home where she was a nursing supervisor. Yes, she gave the WWII vet CPR continuously until paramedics arrived. What she didn't know was that a hidden camera installed by his family had videoed it all. 11Alive managed to get a DeKalb County court to unseal the video, which was used as part of a suit by Dempsey's family, and describes the very different story it paints: A gasping Dempsey called out for help half a dozen times before losing consciousness. A responding nurse didn't check his vital signs. Then, laughter.

Nuckles did not immediately begin doing CPR, and as the nursing staff tried to get Dempsey's oxygen machine to work, Nuckles and others are heard laughing. When asked during the deposition what was so funny, she replied, "I can't even remember all that as you can see." The Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation staff didn't call 911 for a full 57 minutes, and during that time, they're seen starting and stopping compressions, with a nursing expert calling that kind of interrupted pacing "absolutely inappropriate." Though the nursing home learned of the video in November 2014, 11Alive notes the nurses were not fired for another 10 months. (Read more nursing homes stories.)

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