In May 2018, a forensic pathologist revealed a Georgia nursing home patient d*ied from an untreated scabies infection. He found millions of parasitic mites d*estroying the woman’s skin and essentially, eating her a*live. He listed her cause of d*eath as “septicemia due to crusted scabies.” The woman, 93-year-old Rebecca Zeni d*ied from the infection in 2015.
Years of Scabies In*fections
It’s likely that the mites lived under Zeni’s skin for months or even years. Multiple times, state health officials were told that scabies was spreading at the nursing home. Even though they were told about the outbreak, health officials never checked out the facility in LaFayette, Georgia.
Shepherd Hills Nursing Home is where Mrs. Zeni moved into for care in 2010. She suffered from dementia. Over the years, the Shepherd Hills Nursing Home had been accused of many health violations.
Zeni Lived “The American Dream”
In her younger days, Zeni lived what her daughter described as the “American dream,” working in a naval yard during World W*ar II and as a model in New York City. She also spent time working at a news station in Chicago alongside Mike Wallace before she married and became a stay-at-home mom.
Zeni d*ied on June 2, 2015. In 2013, she got scabies at the facility. She told her daughter that the rash on her mom’s skin had been taken care of. She didn’t know it was scabies at the time. But the hospital staff did nothing to treat the infection or give Mrs. Zeni the care and treatment she needed.
“I would seriously consider calling this a homicide by neglect,” said Dr. Kris Sperry, the chief medical examiner at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
La*wsuit Filed Against Pruitt Health
Mrs. Zeni’s daughter filed a lawsuit against Pruitt Health on behalf of her mother. However, the outcome of this civil lawsuit is unknown.
A scabies infection spread to at least 35 patients at the facility between 2013 and 2015. Reports were sent to the state, but they didn’t respond. Instead of inspecting the building, health department workers sent the nursing home a guide on how to handle an outbreak of scabies. It’s not clear who looked at the manual or used the information inside. We do know that Mrs. Zeni passed away 11 days after that.
Rebecca Zeni’s Last Days
Rebecca’s last days of life were excruciatingly pai*nful. The mites had burrowed under her skin, laid eggs, and in*fested her entire body.
Her hand had sw*ollen so badly it had turned black.
Hospital staff was warned to be careful around her hand for fear that it would fall off. Other parts of her body were crusted over, red, and raw.
“At the very end, her skin was de*composing. At that point she was really, really ill from it,” Lance Lourie, an attorney for the family said, “The lawsuit is a suit for damages for the horrible pain and suffering Ms. Zeni went through unnecessarily.”
What is Scabies?
Scabies is a treatable condition caused when parasitic mites burrow into the skin, lay eggs, and survive from the body. Left untreated, scabies can be quite painful and in extreme cases like Zeni’s, cause d*eath.