HASKELL, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Officials on Friday confirmed that an 11th child has died from a respiratory virus outbreak at a nursing center in New Jersey.
The Health Department says the severely ill child was a patient at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell.
There have been 34 pediatric cases of adenovirus since the outbreak began in September, each afflicting children with already compromised immune systems.
Despite the state’s assurances that they’re trying to limit exposure, CBS2 spoke with a patient who described the grisly conditions he says he encountered at the center.
Eugene Dorio says he went through eight weeks of hell while living at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.
“There’s just no compassion, ya know?” the 66-year-old diabetic said.
“It was really dirty, they didn’t really take care of me,” he said. “It was like I had to wait for another shift to come in another two hours to change me, and this went on daily.”
Dorio says he visited the pediatric unit, where the medically fragile children lived, about once a week. He says they always seemed to be sick.
The former patient added the center would sometimes smell of urine or feces, something the staff would blame on patients’ bodily functions.
“Well that’s your job,” Dorio says. “Clean it up and get rid of the smell.”
The center has pushed back against the former patient’s claims, citing its record of being ranked in the top ten percent of nursing facilities in the U.S.
Adenovirus is a respiratory virus which can sometimes cause serious illness. Symptoms can include developing a cold, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and pink eye. Bladder infections, inflammation of the stomach or intestines, and neurological diseases have also been linked to the virus.
The facility has not admitted any new patients while the outbreak is still being dealt with.