Family: Grandfather dies 2 weeks after being assaulted at Westfield nursing home
A 91-year-old grandfather has died days after his family says he was attacked by his roommate at a nursing home in Union County.
Herman Walker died on Thursday. He had been in the hospital for just over two weeks after he got into an altercation with his roommate at the Complete Care Facility in Westfield.
“They told us that he got into a fight with his roommate, that he had a couple of scratches and bruises. We went over to the emergency room to see him and when we got there - what we saw compared to what they told us, it was horrific,” says Naliah Eden, Walker’s granddaughter.
Eden says her grandfather was assaulted on Jan. 4 by his roommate, 61-year-old Francisco Figueroa. Walker’s face was swollen, his eyes were swollen shut and he was bleeding from his head.
“After we got there, the doctors even realized what had happened to him. They said they thought that he probably fell down the stairs…that’s when we called the police,” says Eden.
According to a police report, a Complete Care employee checked in on the men around 4 a.m. When she returned at 5 a.m., she found Walker laying bloodied in his bed and his roommate had blood on his hands and clothes.
A spokesperson for Complete Care wrote in part, “…staff followed established protocols and the matter was promptly reported to the appropriate authorities, as required by state law…The matter is now the in hands of law enforcement.”
Police tried getting statements at the scene from both men, but since both suffer from dementia, they were unsuccessful.
Eden says her grandfather had shared that room with Figueroa since September and that there’s never been a reason for concern.
“I’m disappointed in the way my grandfather was treated there. He was only there for about six months. This was a good person, he was a great grandfather, and he didn’t deserve what happened to him,” says Eden.
Figueroa was transported to another facility and won’t be allowed to return to Complete Care.
Peggy’s Law, which was enacted in 2017, requires workers to contact police within 24 hours if they suspect a crime has occurred in a facility, or within two hours if an injury is involved. Both facilities and employees face fines if they do not comply.
News 12 reached out to Complete Care a second time to get clarity on what their established protocols are and if those protocols include preventative measures to avoid a similar incident, but no one was available to answer those questions.