Family of couple married for nearly 70 years who died last year from COVID in the same nursing home heads to court

Cattaraugus County

ALBION, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Western New York family wants accountability after a husband and wife both died in the same nursing home from COVID-19 last year and they’re taking their case to court.

They’re suing and their attorney is claiming the nursing facility failed to provide proper infection control procedures, protocols and was reckless.

The attorney for the estates of Martha and William Ames says they were high school sweethearts and were married for almost 70 years before dying from coronavirus in April 2020. They were admitted to the Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center in Albion, according to the lawsuit.

Last spring, New York State granted limited COVID-19 immunity provisions for nursing homes that have since been repealed. In a report, this past January, the New York State attorney general’s office claimed those immunity provisions may have allowed facilities across the state to make financially motivated decisions.

Michael Scinta from Brown Chiari is the attorney for the Ames’ estates, and he doesn’t believe the immunity should apply in this case.

“The facility has to first be in compliance with existing law. So the immunity provisions do not allow them to be out of compliance with the law that’s already on the books. Secondly once they accept a resident they have to be able to adequately care for that resident.

According to state data, there have been 23 confirmed COVID-19 deaths inside the Villages of Orleans. Another seven residents died from covid outside of the facility and there was an additional presumed coronavirus death.

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of his work here.

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