Patient's parents question nursing home treatment

Tuesday, August 19th 2008, 2:59 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

JONES, Okla. -- The parents of a nursing home patient want lawmakers to take action. They said their son was raped and abused by another patient at the Oak Hills Living Center in Jones.

James Curnutt's father has joined citizen's advocate group A Perfect Cause to make sure other nursing home residents don't go through what he said his son went through; sexual abuse written out in these documents.

Years ago, life meant football practice in high school, and later a happy marriage, then fatherhood.

However, these days, 41-year-old Curnutt spends his time in a nursing home and suffers from a degenerative brain ailment called pick's disease.

"I can't live with my son needing care and not getting it and people not caring what happens to him," James' father, Richard Curnutt, said.

Richard said James spent months suffering at Oak Hills Living Center from bruises and said a fellow patient raped his son last August.

"When one of your children are harmed, you go through the depression, you go through the hatred, you go want to retaliate physically," Richard said.

Instead, he's shared his story with citizens' advocate and founder of A Perfect Cause, Wes Bledsoe.

"I didn't know if I wanted to cry, spit, cuss or just go bulldoze something," Bledsoe said.

What angers them the most is the fact that although records show the state health department investigated, a police report was never filed.

"We have not been able to find anyone other than myself who has reported that criminal act to law enforcement," Bledsoe said.

It's why they want lawmakers to tighten laws, making sure criminal acts are reported immediately. They also want mandatory video monitoring in common areas, background checks on residents and to require such facilities to have liability insurance.

"It's not just for James, but for other people that don't have anyone out there to take care of them," Richard said.

The director of the Oak Hills Living Center declined to comment.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said an investigation was launched within 48 hours of receiving the complaint.

In a statement, the Oklahoma State Department of Health officials said, "...We believe we did everything that was required of our agency and more to assure the protection of residents."