Eileen and Butch Cleary say their mom, Mary Cleary, lived a good life. But they can’t stop thinking about the end.
“Still a little bit of anger,” said Eileen as she laid flowers at her mother’s grave.
Eileen and her brother say Mary was still sharp, well into her 90’s. “She was real active,” Butch said. “Right up until the end, yeah. Right up until she fell.”
The incident happened at Martin Luther Care Center in Bloomington.
Before she died, Mary wanted to tell her story to help protect others. As her children recorded on a cell phone, she described a night spent in agonizing pain.
“I was screaming and I couldn’t really help it,” she said.
On the family’s video Mary describes how an aide used an EZ Stand to transfer her from a wheelchair into bed. She claims something went wrong during the transfer and she felt her legs break. A report by the nursing home says Mary, “yelled out in pain and her knees buckled.”
“I think they were broken when I fell,” Mary says in the video. “They said ‘Oh, you didn’t break any bones’ and I said I know I did. I could kind of hear them.”
But Mary said no one believed her. The nurse’s note from that night just says Mary “reported aching leg pains” and was administered Tylenol. No one called the doctor, records show.
“They laid me there and I didn’t have anything, really, that I could do except cry and yell,” Mary said.
It wasn’t until around noon the next day when the nursing home brought in a portable x-ray machine according to Martin Luther Care Center records.
The x-ray confirmed one broken leg.
By 4:54 p.m. that afternoon, 19 hours after the EZ Stand incident, Mary was finally sent by ambulance to the hospital. X-rays there revealed she’d actually broken both femurs.
“She was definitely in a lot of pain,” Butch said. And her kids recalled she was mad. “They were basically calling her a liar,” Eileen said.
In a mandated report to the Minnesota Department of Health, Martin Luther Care Center aides said they “didn’t notify a physician” because Mary had “chronic leg pain” and osteoporosis. The nursing home concluded it did nothing wrong.
“They never ever asked her what happened that night,” Butch said.
On October 26, 2016, less than three weeks after breaking her legs, Mary Cleary died.