Rebecca Zeni passed away at the age of 93 in 2015. She was living at Shepherds Hill Nursing Home in LaFayette, Georgia when she died. At the time, very little was made of her passing by any media.
But recently the coroner’s report on Rebecca’s death was dug up by 11 Alive as part of an investigation into conditions at the nursing home. What that report revealed has been a horrific, almost singular, case of neglect. Rebecca Zeni’s death has the distinction of being one of the only recorded cases of someone dying from “septicemia due to crusted scabies.”
This is what this PRUITT Health did to this resident, Bugs ate her alive. Dementia sufferer Rebecca Zeni, 93, died from 'septicemia due to crusted scabies' at the Shepherds Hill Nursing Home in LaFayette. pic.twitter.com/dqi0AzjGiw— The Real Housewives of Fountain Hills (@Shannon21083810) April 28, 2018
Or, as one Forensic Pathologist Dr Sperry put it, Rebecca Zeni was “eaten alive” by scabies.
Scabies is the term used to describe an infection of mites. Mites are small arachnids, usually too small to see, and in scabies they burrow into the flesh and skin of a person and feed of their dead skin cells. However, the faeces produced by scabies often prompts an immunological reaction from the host’s body, resulting in severe itching and skin that becomes cracked and thick from overgrowth as the body tries to kill off the invaders.
Scabies is easily treated using over-the-counter medication, but for some reason no effort was taken to help Rebecca by the care home staff she relied on. Worse yet, 11 Alive’s report revealed that staff were told not to touch Rebecca because they were afraid her hand might fall off, and they were made aware that they might be at risk of contracting the disease themselves.
Rebecca was a former model during her life and was moved into the home after developing dementia. Now her family have brought a lawsuit against the home for its mistreatment of their beloved relative.
Heartbreaking. Rebecca Zeni was a beautiful woman who died being eaten alive in a #assistedliving by scabies. Gross neglect & #elderabuse. Unacceptable.— Kevin (@HomeCareGurus) April 30, 2018
Is your staff trained in wound care? https://t.co/MtwEsw0xOx #Dementia #wound pic.twitter.com/LWWg1H2dmJ
It has also been discovered that the home has a history of neglect and abuse, and has received numerous complaints over its lifetime despite collecting millions from US taxpayers. In fact, 11 Alive found over three dozen complaints against the home for a range of violations including medication errors and failure to maintain equipment.
Hopefully, action will be taken as Rebecca Zeni’s case is an exceptional case of mistreatment, neglect, and horrific abuse that led to someone dying painfully, and slowly, from a treatable condition.
“This is one of the most horrendous things I’ve ever seen in my career as a forensic pathologist,” said Dr Sperry.