Local News

Nurses doubled over in laughter while they watch elderly veteran die

When James Dempsey's breathing machine failed and he slipped out of consciousness, the nurses didn't call paramedics for another hour.

By Kate Wagner
Needing to put a loved one in a nursing home can be stressful for everyone involved. Thankfully, knowing they will be cared for by professionals to a level often impossible to give as a family member is reassuring.
That makes this video of nurses doubled over in laughter while a World War II veteran repeatedly calls for helps, saying he can’t breathe, all the more distressing.
James Dempsey, 89, died in 2015 but the video was only just released after a television station persuaded the courts to unseal the controversial footage.
Mr Dempsey’s son Tim secretly installed the camera after he voiced concerns over mistreatment even though he thought his father’s suspicions were over-the-top.
“We would have just thought it was natural causes and everything was done that should have been done and he passed away in his sleep,” Tim Dempsey told Channel 2.
After reviewing the footage, Tim said he felt “shock” and “dismay” at the nurses.
“We’ve seen these people every day,” he added while discussing the subsequent three year legal battle.
Records show that when the breathing apparatus failed, Mr Dempsey slipped into unconsciousness but paramedics weren't called for another hour.
Nurses told attorneys they had rushed to Mr Dempsey’s room when they realised he had stopped breathing and performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. However, the video showed nobody was doing CPR on the patient and had not started immediately.
When asked about the inconsistencies, the nurse replied: “Sir that was an honest mistake because I was just basing everything on what I normally do.”
Despite the confronting footage being watched in 2015, the nurses only lost their licences after the TV station saw the footage released to the public.