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Suit: Nurse Neglect Led To L.I. Man’s Brain Damage

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Robert Knowles (Photo/CBS 2)

Robert Knowles (Photo/CBS 2)

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SHIRLEY, N.Y. (CBS 2) — A Long Island family has filed a lawsuit charging that nurses ignored the alarms triggered by a problem with their loved one’s ventilator.

Robert Knowles is currently being treated at his home following massive brain damage he suffered last March. Knowles’ wife, Gladys, said the injury was caused by neglect from nurses at Medford Multicare Center.

gladys knowles Suit: Nurse Neglect Led To L.I. Mans Brain Damage

Gladys Knowles (Photo/CBS 2)

“My husband unfortunately was suffocating and nobody came to help him,” Knowles told CBS 2’s John Slattery.

Knowles has filed a lawsuit on behalf of her 59-year-old husband accusing workers at the nursing home of oxygen deprivation. The former truck driver had already been in a wheel chair and left quadriplegic from a fall in 2007, but had been mentally sharp.

The family said Robert Knowles’ ventilator became dislodged and that warning signals were ignored for 24 minutes.

The family’s lawyer obtained a surveillance video which allegedly shows a nurse failing to respond to both a warning buzzer and lights on a computer grid.

“Nobody went to his room. She didn’t get up. She didn’t call anybody,” Gladys Knowles said.

“We’re hoping that people take a look at this and understand that if an alarm goes off, you have to respond,” she said.

The lawsuit accuses a total of three employees of ignoring buzzers and the family said Knowles suffered severe brain damage and a seizure disorder as a result.

“And they didn’t go in to check the patient. That’s another thing that has always struck me about the case.” Ira Podlofsky, the family’s lawyer, said.

A spokesperson for Medford Multicare had no comment because of the litigation.

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