CHELSEA (CBS) — Weeks after John Griffin’s father died of COVID-19 at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, a Massachusetts state trooper called to interview him.
“I had no idea there was an investigation,” Griffin said. “He said they just thought there was neglect there and they were investigating it.”
Griffin’s 91-year-old father Anthony Griffin was a Korean War veteran.
“I was not happy the past couple of years with the care my father was getting at all,” Griffin said. “All his personal care was horrible. Just the insensitivity.”
Griffin’s concern grew as the coronavirus took hold in Massachusetts and he was informed that a staffer at the home had tested positive. He said he was told by the home that there were no cases on his father’s floor and that the staffer worked in the kitchen. A week later, he said, the home called to tell him his father had tested positive.
Within days, Griffin’s father’s health went downhill. Griffin’s father died on April 25. So far, 30 veterans have died at the home, and dozens of others have tested positive.
A veterans’ group said the the home should have done more to protect their residents.
“Why weren’t precautions put in place?” said Deb Olson, of Disabled American Veterans. “We need to find out why this happened.”
Since the outbreak, the state has increased testing and cleaning at the home, as well as infection control protocols. But Griffin says none of that matters to him.
“A little too late for my father. A lot of people have died,” he said.
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins released a statement Monday: “As this pandemic continues to steal lives, and particularly in the case of the Chelsea Soldiers’ Homes of those who gave so much, we will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that those most vulnerable are protected and honored.”