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Lawsuit targets Pa. nursing home with dozens of deaths


A daily newsletter by Spotlight PA
Your Postmaster: Ed Mahon
October 22, 2020
Nursing home lawsuit, voting machines, false COVID-19 claims, wet vs. dry, a notorious restaurant, and not one but TWO bear attacks. That's Thursday. 

A western Pennsylvania nursing home where a coronavirus outbreak killed at least 73 people is now facing a lawsuit from the families of 10 of the residents who died and five people still living at the facility, TribLIVE reports.

They're accusing Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County of wrongful death and gross negligence, charges they allege stem from failures to follow proper safety measures, such as for how sick patients should be isolated. An earlier TribLIVE investigation described several problems and violations at the facility for infection control, management, and patient care.

In response to the lawsuit, Brighton issued the same statement it has sent out for months, saying it's worked closely to follow the guidance of government health officials, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

The Context: Nursing and personal care homes have been hard hit by the coronavirus and account for the majority of the state's deaths: more than 5,600, according to the most recent Department of Health data.

Last month, Spotlight PA reported that problems with state data meant the public still didn't have a clear picture of how many people have died or been sickened by the virus at the facilities. 

Problems at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center surfaced in late March. By May, the National Guard had been deployed to the facility, the state had installed a temporary manager, and federal officials were investigating.

Other Pennsylvania nursing homes have had high death counts, as well, including Conestoga View Nursing & Rehabilitation in Lancaster County. And the deaths have led to finger-pointing by Republican and Democratic lawmakers over who's to blame.


“When you purchase deer tags or a dog license or pay your taxes even, you have to put a stamp on the envelope and send it back so we just didn’t want to set precedence.”

–– Perry County Commissioner Brenda Watson on why the county is the only one in the state that requires voters to buy their own stamp for mail-in or absentee ballots
POST IT: Thanks, @bleachburn, for submitting this shot from your fall trip to Minister Creek Trail. Send us your hidden gems, use the hashtag #PAGems, or tag us on Instagram at @spotlightpennsylvania.
CALL TO ACTION: Citing an August report from Spotlight PA, a state senator says officials with Pennsylvania's system of public universities need to prioritize solutions to address racism and inequity experienced by students of color as part of a larger planned restructuring.

A PIVOTAL COUNTY: In 2019, voting machines in Northampton County malfunctioned, with voters reporting erratic touch screens and difficult to read ballots. A year later, Spotlight PA checks in to ask — have the problems been fixed?

LACK OF CARE: Allegheny County is short about 15,600 child care spots compared to before the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from Pittsburgh-based consulting firm Fourth Economy. That could hurt other parts of the economy, WESA reports.

FALSE CLAIMS: Two state lawmakers are circulating false information about a potential COVID-19 vaccine, WITF reports. Gov. Tom Wolf's administration pushed back and urged people to "continue to listen to the experts."

NEW INTEREST: A three-way state House race in western Pennsylvania is receiving some late attention from Democratic Party leaders, the Pennsylvania Capital-Star reports. The increased interest follows the public release of vulgar videos that state Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R., Lawrence) posted on Snapchat.

FINAL DEBATE: With all the back and forth about microphone rules and whether to have a virtual town hall, I forgot about this: The final presidential debate is tonight at 9. Here's a handy guide, as well as a recipe for "election cake" if you need something sweet to get through it.

WET VS. DRY: Sure, the presidential race is getting a good bit of attention in Pennsylvania. But voters in some towns face another important question: whether their municipalities should allow businesses to sell beer and wine.

WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?: In 2018a bear attacked and mauled Melinda Lebarron when she was in her Lycoming County backyard. She spent more than two months in the hospital. This weekend, the she survived yet another bear attack, this time without injury. Her dog, who happened to be named Bear, was killed.

WHAT TO READ IF ... You're looking for a ghost story: The Morning Call describes why paranormal investigators have flocked to an Easton restaurant where a notorious mobster was killed in 1928. 

COUCH-BASED CINEMA: Like many organizations, Film Pittsburgh is moving its fall festival online. This November, you can catch independent movies, contemporary short films, and works about Judaism and people with disabilities without leaving home. 

Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out the winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

Yesterday's answer: Halloween

Congrats to our other winners: John C., Craig W., Karen A., KJ, Irene K., Kathy W., Theodore W., Steve D., Thomas B., Bruce Be., Ann S., Chris M., David I., Patricia M., Bruce Ba., Diana S., TW P., Edward M., Heidi G., Tish M., Craig E., Joel S., Brandie K., Jill A.S., Carl D., George S., Amy H., John H., Lynne E., Carl K., Tracey C., Lynne P., Karen W., Irene R., Ann and John, David W., Gail H., Anne E., Bill C., Robert S., Beth T., Vicky, Kim C., Evelyn S., Sandra S., Patricia R., Tanya W., Susan C., Alletta S., and Chris W.
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