$1M lawsuit filed against Austin nursing home for feces smearing incident

Carlos Santacruz (Pflugerville Police Photo)
Carlos Santacruz (Pflugerville Police Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Family of a woman who had pictures of her, covered in what appeared to be feces, posted to social media by a now fired and arrested nurse’s aide in March are seeking more than a million dollars in compensation from the nursing home she was staying in.

Carlos Alberto Santacruz, 23, was arrested in April after being connected to the photos posted to Snapchat. In one post, someone is shown tickling the sleeping woman’s nose with a tissue or feather prompting her to reach up and touch her own face with her feces covered hand.

“I was heartbroken when I saw those — I mean it’s my mother, when I saw those pictures and as more information came to light I was just in shock,” Chandler McCaughan said about the video involving his mother.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs are now saying Windsor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Duval “did not care” that Santacruz “was and is a despicable human being” and let him work with the woman, failing to supervise him.

Carlos Santacruz (Pflugerville Police Photo)
Carlos Santacruz (Pflugerville Police Photo)

“It goes without saying that the care and safety the Defendants provided departed from acceptable standards of health care,” the lawsuit filed Monday said.

The facility’s administrator, TJ Helmcamp, previously told KXAN he would treat an incident like this as borderline exploitation of a resident. “I’m a man of ethics,” he said. “If something like that were to happen at a building I manage, I would take every exhaustive effort to ensure [residents’] safety.”

While investigating this incident in March, KXAN discovered another family who said they planned to seek legal action against the nursing home.

“A couple days ago, he was sitting in his bed and he had dried feces all over him,” James Nokes explained about how he had found his father. “The nurses failed to change him, didn’t really care about changing him, didn’t really care about doing anything to address the issue.”

DADS, which has a quality reporting system on its website, lists Windsor Nursing as having the lowest score in Austin, with a 25 out of 100.

Call 1-800-458-9858 to report suspected abuse or neglect of people who are older or who have disabilities.

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