Emails obtained by abc27 from a Right-to-Know request describe two Cumberland County employees getting hurt on the job. The documents say they were electrically shocked while working at county-owned Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, months after health inspections showed electrical deficiencies in the building.
The emails describe the incident as happening on October 20th, 2014 – just before reports surfaced of Claremont rushing a resident to the emergency room after he developed a 106.3-degree fever while left outside the facility.
In the emails, at-the-time Claremont Administrator Karen DeWoody said a nursing assistant touched a light switch in a resident’s room. She described immediately seeing a bright light and feeling a shock go through her left hand and arm. The nursing assistant said she sat on the floor and felt her leg go numb. Other staff members heard her scream, called 911, and moved residents to a different room. The nursing assistant went to the emergency room.
DeWoody’s email goes on, saying the employee had her left arm in a sling when she was discharged from the ER. The email also says the nursing assistant was on medication for continued pain; she also “stated possible nerve damage.”
A second employee reported experiencing a slight shock from a different light switch in a room next door. DeWoody’s email says that employee did not go to the hospital. A few weeks after the incident, DeWoody stepped down from her position.
Current Claremont Administrator John Belko and Cumberland County Facilities Management Director John Lopp both say the fire department did an inspection and could not find anything wrong with the electrical wiring; staff members also examined the system and did not find any malfunctions. Belko says Claremont has never had a situation like this, and has not had any similar experiences since the October incident.
Abc27 looked up previous health inspections of Claremont’s facilities. Reports from January 2012 and February 2014 show electrical deficiencies, although they don’t give specifics. Belko and Lopp say those were corrected right away, and were different issues that did not have anything to do with the electrical shocks.
Lopp tells Abc27 that the metal plates on the lights are currently up-to-code. However, as a precaution, Claremont is in the process of switching over to nylon plates for the entire building. When asked if the other Cumberland County buildings would be making the switch, Lopp said it would most likely be a case-by-case basis.
Claremont maintains its CMS 5 Star Rating.