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Video: "Horrible" nursing home abuse caught on hidden camera

A metro Detroit family is going public with allegations, and video, about abuse their elderly father suffered in a Livonia nursing home.

Hussein Younes and his six children are suing Livonia’s Autumnwood nursing home.

*Warning: Disturbing content

They say Hussein Younes was physically and verbally abused when he was there for about six months after undergoing surgery for a bowel obstruction in 2015.

The family has an ongoing lawsuit against Autumnwood and management company, Ciena Health Care. But they’re now releasing hidden camera footage that backs up their allegations, including some that show at least one employee making anti-Arab comments and using ethnic slurs.

Salim Younes, Hussein Younes’ son, said he put a hidden camera disguised as an alarm clock in his father’s room after he noticed unexplained bruises and cuts on his father’s body.

“I discovered unspeakable horrors,” Salim Younes said. “What I found on [video] these clips is something that blew my mind.”

The video clips show several Autumnwood employees treating Hussein Younes very roughly, allowing him to slide from his wheelchair to the floor, jerking his head back and forth and yelling obscenities directly into his face, among other abusive and negligent behaviors.

“I’m sick of your stupid ass. Get your ass up here,” one nurse’s aide is shown saying to Younis and she jerks him roughly from his wheelchair to his bed.

The family and their attorney, Jonathan Marko, say they’re going public now because there was a gag order on the case that’s recently been lifted.

“This needs to be out in the open,” Marko said. “This is one of the most troubling cases I have ever seen. It’s chilling.”

Marko suggests that Younes was specifically targeted for this behavior because of his ethnicity. And he says one of the employees shown tormenting Mr. Younes “was a time bomb waiting to go off,” having been disciplined by the state and fired from two other nursing and rehab facilities.

In a statement, Autumnwood’s attorney says the facility was informed of the Younes family’s accusations of abuse in December 2015, but “no details were offered.” Autumnwood conducted an internal investigation and reported the allegations to local police and a state regulatory agency but was “unable to substantiate the allegations with the information we had at the time.”

"Although the Younes family had in their possession in December 2015 a video that provided information related to the allegations of abuse, the existence of the video itself was not disclosed to my client until May of 2016, when the video was sent to my client along with a demand for payment of monetary damages,” the statement goes on to say. “When Autumnwood received this new information and video, another internal investigation was immediately launched, and the new information provided by the Younes’ attorney, five months after the alleged incident, was turned over by Autumnwood to the state survey agency and law enforcement.”

It was not immediately clear Monday whether the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) had taken any action against Autumnwood or Ciena, or whether Livonia Police had conducted a criminal investigation.

Autumnwood’s attorney says that all employees “identified from the video have been terminated, and additional training has been provided to all employees.”

The Younes’ civil case is scheduled to go to trial this June. Marko and Salim Younes say that as of now, they are not inclined to settle the case.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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