Resident dies after fight at Emerald South Nursing Home

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The state’s health department, Buffalo police and the Erie County District Attorney’s office are investigating the death of a resident at Emerald South Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center.

The fight happened between a male and female resident.

Police records show the woman, Ruth Murray, 82, who has Alzheimer’s Disease, mistakenly walked into the man’s room Friday morning, and a fight ensued.

Staff at Emerald South called members of the woman’s family and told them she had been hurt in an “altercation,” and had been cut on her face, scratched on her nose and had bruising to her backside.

Doctors at ECMC, however, told the family Murray had sustained broken ribs, broken bones in her neck, facial fractures, a broken nose and a collapsed lung.

She was listed in stable or fair condition over the weekend. But an autopsy performed Monday showed her injuries and the fight contributed to her death, as did her age and poor health.

Here is a picture of Murray and her daughter. Brown Chiari LLP, who is representing the family, provided the photo.

This isn’t the first time Emerald South has been the target of an investigation.

Inspections by the New York State Department of Health since August 2012 show dozens of standard health and life safety citations, more than four times the statewide average.MORE | See more on the state’s audit of nursing home enforcement procedures here.

Among the complaints during that time, most of which were reported by the facility itself, Emerald South amassed nearly 152 complaints per 100 occupied beds, compared to the state average of 41, according to state records.

A woman who answered at Emerald South this afternoon declined to comment. She also declined to provide the name of the facility’s administrator, who she says handles inquiries by the press. The voicemail box for Emerald South’s administrator, Ruth Long, was full. Long didn’t return a call seeking comment.

However, a statement by Emerald South spokesman Kevin Keenan read:

“The staff at Emerald South has extended our deepest condolences to the family members and friends of our resident. We have met privately with the family of the resident, and have been and continue to cooperate with public authorities as we work together to conduct a complete and thorough investigation.”
Added Keenan: “Emerald South strives to offer a supportive, caring and safe environment for all of our residents. To protect the confidential and private health information of those involved in this matter, we will not release any further information at this time.”

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