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Md. Family Files Lawsuit Against Catonsville Nursing Home

CATONSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) -- A Maryland family files a massive medical malpractice lawsuit against a nursing home, alleging neglect led to the death of an 85-year-old grandmother.

Derek Valcourt has video the victim's family says helps prove their case.

The family says the video shows the woman wailing in pain, suffering, while the staff ignored her. They plan to ask a jury for $30 million in damages.

Video of 85-year-old Esther Gray was taken in August inside Catonsville Manorcare Rehab Center. Her daughter-in-law Yvette was behind the camera; she says she started recording as she grew more and more concerned staff was ignoring a woman obviously in pain.

Over and over again, Yvette pleaded for help.

"Doesn't matter if she's your patient. I just told you the light's been on an hour. She's in pain," she said. "Why can't you help you? Why you gotta get somebody? Why can't you just help her?"

Help never came.

"No one ever came," said Yvette Johnson. "After almost an hour of video, I just left. I didn't want to argue; I just left."

Thirty hours later, Esther Gray---who lived a long, proud and happy life---died inside Manorcare. Her grandson and daughter-in-law are now filing a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging negligence by the Manorcare staff.

Officials with Manorcare say they can't discuss the lawsuit but are reviewing it. They say they are sympathetic to their patient's healthcare problems and have high standards for their employees and the level of care they deliver.

"It was absolute indifference is the best way to describe it. The people there simply did not give a damn and I think it's very obvious when you watch the video," said attorney David Ellin.

Ellin filed the suit, which also blames Manorcare for an unexplained fracture in Esther Gray's left arm and for an unexplained dislocated right arm. Though you can hear Esther moaning clearly in the video, medical records for that same time show staff found no sign of pain and say she was resting well in bed.

"She didn't deserve what happened to her," said her grandson, Orlando Gray.

The State Department of Health looked into the family's complaints but say their review of medical records could not prove wrongdoing. The family's attorney has now sent state officials a copy of the video, which the state did not have before, and asked them to take another look at the case.

Manorcare now has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. Cases like this can take upwards of two years to resolve.

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