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Abysmal Care Alleged at Nursing Home

FORT WORTH (CN) - A blind and deaf Iraqi-American was denied proper care by a Texas nursing home whose staff took him to a church and converted him to Christianity, the man's guardian claims in court.

Anne M. Weiss sued WGH Heritage and Carl Earwood in Tarrant County Court on Friday on behalf of Ahmed Jabbar Al Ghazawi. She says Ghazawi was born blind, deaf, with multiple sclerosis and other handicaps. He came to the United States in 2014 and became a naturalized citizen after being "traumatically kidnapped" and abandoned in Iraq that year.

Weiss says the defendant's Fort Worth nursing home, Heritage Square, discharged Ghazawi in retaliation for her complaints about their "inappropriate treatment and neglect" of him.

"Even though defendant WGH Heritage Inc. and its staff knew that Ahmed is Muslim and attended a mosque, some of its staff took him to a Christian church in 2015, where Ahmed allegedly converted to Christianity," the complaint states. "Mr. Earwood ratified this conduct of this staff on behalf of defendant WGH Heritage Inc."

Weiss says in the complaint that Earwood has been "found guilty" of hiding incidents for the past two years and of not making required reports to the Texas Department of Health Human Services. She says the agency has investigated Heritage Square five times this year, so far. She claims that during an earlier involuntary discharge in 2013, Ghazawi was placed in a drug rehab facility that was both inappropriate and unable to meet his medical needs.

"This was in violation of Texas law, which requires the transfer of a patient to a facility that can provide appropriate care to that patient," the complaint states. "No interpreter was provided to Ahmed while he was at that facility, and he felt physically threatened by other residents there, who had violent criminal records. Because he felt abandoned and confused, Ahmed attempted to flee that facility and was then transferred to a rehab center, where he was locked up with Alzheimer patients and unable to leave the locked ward or communicate with the outside world by videophone."

Weiss claims Ghazawi was defamed when he was falsely accused of sexually assaulting someone at the nursing home. "Several members of the staff at Heritage Square spoke to Ahmed about sex without any appropriate reason," the complaint states.

Weiss also claims Ahmed was sent to the emergency room when he was not ill and did not require medical attention, incurring major medical expenses.

The defendants also cut off his phone line during the final weeks of his stay at the nursing home and monitored his conversations with others on video-conferencing, the complaint states.

Phone calls to Heritage Square seeking comment were not answered Monday afternoon.

Weiss seeks actual and punitive damages for gross negligence, malice and/or fraudulent conduct.

She is represented by Domingo Garcia in Dallas.

Follow @davejourno
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