STATEN ISLAND (PIX11) — 99-year-old Peter Mazza’s wish was to live out his final days in his Staten Island home peacefully. However, his family says they caught home health aides abusing, neglecting, and harassing the father via surveillance video.
“He probably felt alone, afraid,” Carol Ann Love, Mazza’s daughter, said. “I don’t know if he felt like we abandoned him, that we weren’t there to protect him.”
Mazza’s family is now trying to raise awareness and going after the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and Partners In Care, the very service responsible for supplying what seems incompetent aide after aide.
“Why are there a string of aides coming into this home?” John Dalli, an attorney for the Mazza family asks. “They weren’t feeding or bathing him.”
Mazza has had nursing care at home for several years, but it wasn’t until last year Mazza’s children say they noticed their father becoming withdrawn and unhappy.
In August 2013, they decided to install a home surveillance system.
“They didn’t put the cameras in the home to catch them doing something to their father,” said Dalli. “They wanted to let them know that they were monitoring the situation.”
Despite informing every aide hired through Visiting Nurse Service of NY of the camera, almost immediately, the family says they caught neglect.
Mazza would often times not be given his dinner. Some aides would even leave him home alone to run their own errands.
Each time, the aides were called out, let go, and replaced by new visiting nurses. But little did the family know, the most gut-wrenching acts were still to come.
A nurse by the name of Jacqueline Doe does nothing for several minutes after Mazza falls from his wheelchair. Instead of helping him up, she screams at him over and over again.
“Please, I can’t see! I’m blind. I’m blind, I can’t see where my shoes are … please, please,” Mazza can be heard saying from the recording.
“I’m not picking you up. I’m not picking you up,” Jacqueline Doe coldly insisted.
After Doe, William Foster came to care for Mazza. Foster was allowed to bring his child to work with him.
Not only was Foster caught masturbating with his child and Mazza in the room, it seemed Foster could care less about taking care of the elderly man.
As Mazza repeatedly asks for help to find his shoes and get up, Foster instead tosses the frail man like a rag doll.
Mazza’s family says their father suffered not only emotionally but physically: several broken ribs and head injuries led to Mazza having to live out his final days in a nursing home because he was left unable to swallow.
“I don’t know if my father just gave up his will to live and he was done with his fight,” said Love.
“They took him from us after we were begging them to help us … and I don’t want anyone else to suffer like this.”
The Visiting Nurse Service of New York provided this statement to PIX 11 about Mazza’s case:
“The Visiting Nurse Service of New York and Partners in Care have zero tolerance for any staff member who violates our mission to care for this city’s vulnerable populations. In fact, our screening and training requirements for our caregivers far exceed those mandated by the state. We respond swiftly to concerns raised by our patients and, indeed, in this case we dismissed the aide who was in the home at the time of Mr. Mazza’s fall immediately upon learning of the aide’s behavior. We also are cooperating with the DOH and all concerned parties to address the emotional distress of the family. We continually remind out staff that it is our expectation that the best and most compassionate care is the standard of performance at VNSNY.”