Nurses resign after COVID-19 kills 8 people at Arkansas healthcare facility

Around Arkansas

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (KARK) — Former nurses at a healthcare facility in Jacksonville are blowing the whistle on what they call a dangerous environment for patients and staff.

The Arkansas Department of Health tells us that 31 staff members and 42 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 at Woodland Hills in Jacksonville. 8 residents have died.

The former nurses tell us they feel it could have been prevented.

“We can’t do it anymore because we just can’t watch this. I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life,” said Renae McMullen, former nurse at Woodland Hills Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.

McMullen has worked as a nurse for 25 years. She says she resigned at Woodland Hills two weeks ago after management made negligent decisions directly impacting residents.

“You have to protect me, you have to give me my equipment to do my job,” said McMullen.

McMullen says nurses were not given appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) until after a staff member came to work with COVID-19 symptoms.

“They came in and within two weeks, we had COVID positive patients,” said McMullen.

She says that the employee was allowed to interact with the residents which resulted in an outbreak inside the nursing home. We talked to another former nurse at Woodland Hills who says this should have never happened.

“Those poor residents shouldn’t have had to go through this because of someone’s stupidity,” said Shakena Daniels, former nurse at Woodland Hills.

Daniels resigned as a nurse this week. She tells KARK that not only did they lack the PPE to protect everyone inside, the facility was also severely understaffed.

“It was stressful and it was hard and I think they could have handled it a whole lot better than they did,” said Daniels.

The manager at the nursing home chose not to go on camera instead sent KARK the following statement:

Thank you for your inquiry. Woodland Hills is closely monitoring updates related to COVID-19 and has implemented CDC and CMS recommended COVID-19 prevention strategies.

All PPE inventory and Infection control practices were inspected in person by the Office of Long-Term Care and to be found satisfactory. Woodland Hills continues to work with the Arkansas Department of Health, Office of Long-Term Care, Pulaski County Health Dept. and the CDC to do everything possible to ensure our residents’ and staff’s wellbeing.

However, both Daniels and McMullen hope that management will take this more seriously as the number of people infected inside the facility continues to grow.

“You didn’t take care of us, and you didn’t take care of them and you’ve let them down and their families down,” said McMullen.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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