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Brighton Rehab, medical director facing lawsuit over handling of COVID-19

BEAVER, Pa. — The families of 15 people who were exposed to COVID-19 at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the facility and its medical director.

According to the complaint, Brighton Rehab failed to follow “necessary and vital precautions” which would have prevented the spread of COVID-19.

More than 300 Brighton Rehab patients and staff have contracted the virus since early March. More than 70 residents have died, including 10 whose families are part of the lawsuit.

“Unfortunately, the handling of COVID-19 at Brighton Rehab is another tragic instance where families trusted a facility to care for their loved ones and the facility failed to take steps which would have prevented numerous deaths,” attorney Robert Daley said in a news release. “Our three firms are dedicated to advocating for victims who are most susceptible to mistreatment, including the residents at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.”

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Among the allegations in the lawsuit against Brighton Rehab:

  • Facility failed to make sure proper social distancing protocols were followed by staff
  • Residents were not tested or quarantined away from other residents who had tested positive for COVID-19
  • Proper PPE was not worn by staff
  • Proper cleaning protocols were not followed

“This lawsuit is not about the COVID virus. It is about what did not take place prior to the virus coming here,” said Attorney Rob Pierce during a news conference. “Within the calendar year before the virus came this spring, Brighton was cited on three separate occasions.”

In May, the National Guard was brought in to help control an outbreak of COVID-19 at Brighton Rehab.

Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center released the following statement Wednesday:

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Brighton has worked to closely follow the guidance of governmental health officials. Brighton is pleased to say the facility has not gone months without a new case of COVID-19. This is a testament to the dedication of our staff and the support of our residents and their families. Right now, the facility’s sole focus remains on ensuring the health and well-being of all residents and staff.”

Families react to the news

“My sister was a lively, loving, great big sister. She did not deserve to die the way that she did,” said Jamie Worthy.

Worthy’s sister died at the facility in April from COVID-19 at the age of 64. She’s just one of the 15 families now involved in the lawsuit against the facility.

“We are continually receiving false information. My dad is there. My dad has dementia. I have to be his voice and I’m going to be his voice and the voice of everybody out there who doesn’t have a daughter that’s going to go out and fight,” another woman said.

11 investigates has been following the situation at Brighton Rehab since the start of the pandemic. Here are some of those investigations: