August 16, 2018
That day came last summer on July 17. Bowers died three and a half months after what appears to be a terrible mix-up. The Marine’s family wants to know how that mix-up happened so other veterans and their families do not have to suffer like they did.
FRANKLIN, Ind. (WTHR) — Traci Dearth was enjoying a family vacation in Florida when she heard a severe weather warning on her cellphone.
“My Channel 13 app continued to go off because of all the storms back home, but I didn’t think much about it at the time. I just had no idea,” she said.
What Dearth didn’t realize was her 70-year-old father was outdoors, helplessly seeking shelter from the severe thunderstorms that brought hail, lightning, high winds and flooding to central Indiana.
The wheelchair-bound veteran with dementia was supposed to be safe inside a nursing home. Instead, he was fighting for his life, abandoned by the people who Dearth trusted to care for him.
“They had one job and that was to take care of him for seven days, and they didn’t do that,” Dearth told WTHR. “He suffered so much. It’s been a year and I still don’t understand it.”
She is now demanding answers from the Roudebush VA Medical Center, a nursing home and a local cab company. All three are accused of negligence that eventually contributed to the death of Gerald Bowers.
“This is a horrible tragedy that should have never happened,” said attorney Mark Ladendorf, whose law firm has filed two lawsuits related to Bowers’ care. “This is a story the community should hear about. Somebody needs to be held responsible, so this never happens again.”
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