COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — Fearing for her mother’s health and safety, Hazel Drumgoole said she has pulled her mother out of Colonial Heights Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and filed complaints at both the state and federal level.

8News has found that the facility has a history of problems.

Marie Drumgoole was transported to the Colonial Heights health care center to rehab after a stroke. Her stay, lasting just three weeks after a her daughter noticed bruising on her mom.

“A large bruise on the left side of her stomach and a large bruise on her thigh,” Hazel Drumgoole said.

Hazel Drumgoole claims the nursing center couldn’t explain what happened to her mother.  She has her own ideas. 

She said, “I’ve taken care of my mother for years, I never bruised her. I am thinking unnecessary roughness.”

She shared photos with 8News to prove it.

Her 94-year-old mother arrived at the Colonial Heights nursing center with a heart monitor but Hazel Drumgoole said it was never connected.

“She was here two weeks and they did not know she had a heart monitor” Hazel Drumgoole said. “It’s neglect, I think it’s neglect.”

Hazel Drumgoole said her mother couldn’t even talk to her family over the phone for her first ten days at the center.  

She said, “The receiver was missing from the phone.”

Hazel Drumgoole wasn’t permitted to visit her mom in-person at first because of COVID-19 restrictions but she demanded a compassion visit. She said when she got inside, it was clear to her no one had washed or combed her mom’s hair.  

“Her hair was all tangled in the back,” she said.

In addition, a packed suitcase with personal belongings was empty.

“All her clothes and her shoes were missing,” Drumgoole said.

Eventually, a pair of her pants were found in the laundry room and an outfit and shoes were found in the roommate’s closet. However, Hazel Drumgoole said the majority of her mom’s belongings are still unaccounted for.

It’s not the first time the facility had been accused of losing personal items. 8News found an investigation into a complaint last year determined facility staff failed to investigate a concern for missing hearing aids.

“It was total neglect here,” Drumgoole said.

8News requested an interview with management at the Colonial Heights Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.  They declined but we were told in a statement:

“We are very sorry to hear of the issues alleged by the family of our former resident. The quality care and wellbeing of our residents is always of utmost importance to everyone at Colonial Heights Rehabilitation Center. We are fully committed to our residents and hold ourselves to the highest of standards always. We are unable to comment further, due to HIPPA and privacy practices for the former resident and family.”

-Tyler Mackall Administrator, Colonial Heights Rehabilitation and Nursing Center

8News found the nursing facility gets a much below average rating from the federal government and at the height of pandemic, the center had a COVID-19 outbreak resulting in 24 deaths.

Hazel Drumgoole urges others with loved ones in a nursing facility to check in on them and request a compassion visit to see what is going on inside. 

She said, “A lot of patients here, they are non-verbal they can’t express, they can’t talk, they can’t tell their story. Family needs to visit them.”

Medical experts tells us sometimes medical details like a heart monitor can get lost in transit if not noted by a doctor. So, it’s important to ask questions and make sure the doctor and facility have communicated.

If you are having an issue with a facility and want to file a complaint, you can do so fill out a Nursing Home Complaint Form and send it to the Virginia Department of Health.