‘Stripped him of dignity’: Son claims nursing home neglected, abused dad before death

CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte nursing home is under investigation after a family claims their loved one was neglected, abused and later died.

Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz first met William Morris’s family three years ago. At the time, they were worried because there was a COVID outbreak at the Cotswold nursing home.

On Monday morning, they emailed Sáenz frustrated and heartbroken about the condition they say Morris was found in just days before he died last month.

Morris’ only child, Gregory, reflected on the precious memories spent with his one-of-a-kind dad.

“When I would come in, see him for his birthday, I would give him a haircut and shave him,” he said.

Memories are all that’s left after William Morris died on July 19. He was a resident at Charter Senior Living Facility on Randolph Road.

His son said William was rushed to Atrium Health three days before his death. A nurse called Gregory in Maryland and told him the grim condition his father was in.

“She says, ‘your father is arrived here from a care facility. He should not have been in this condition of health coming from a care facility. It’s very clear signs of abuse and neglect, and we will be reporting this to Mecklenburg County,’” Gregory said. “At this point, I’m just -- I’m like, beside myself.”

Medical staff told him his father weighed 125 pounds. Gregory said his father hadn’t been eating for weeks and was found in filthy conditions.

He flew to Charlotte and was with his father as he took his last breath. He said he died from pneumonia, septic shock, and aggressive dementia.

“I sat there and I just rubbed his head and rubbed his arm, rubbed his head and just talked,” Gregory said.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said the senior facility is now under investigation. They made an onsite visit on Aug. 3.

In a statement, Charter Senior Living told Sáenz they’ve “been working with both the county and state licensing who have since been on site.” They went on to say they “take this situation very seriously” and their “hearts go out to the Morris family.”

But for Gregory, that’s not enough.

“What happened stripped him of dignity,” he said. “He did not deserve this. He did not deserve to suffer.”

Gregory Morris told Sáenz he just wants accountability. He is waiting to see the results of the investigation before deciding his next move.

That investigation could take several weeks.

The full statement from Charter Senior Living is below:

“First and foremost, resident safety and care is our top priority, and we take this situation very seriously. We have been working collaboratively with both the county and state licensing who have since been on site.

“Charter Senior Living has extensive policy and procedures which we monitor and train on a consistent basis with both existing staff and new staff, which includes specific memory care education. We are committed to going above and beyond to assure the highest level of care and service is provided.

“Our hearts go out to the Morris family. Residents are like family and these circumstances deeply sadden us. He will be missed by all the associates and other residents.”

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Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.