wjxt logo

Man, 61, dies after attack in nursing home

Police: Man hit in head with dresser drawer by fellow dementia patient

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local man died last week after police said he was hit in the head with a dresser drawer during an altercation at a Northside nursing home.

According to police, Lucius Dunbar, 61, was attacked Jan. 2 at Harts Harbor Health Care Center and was hit in the head by another unnamed resident of the facility. Both Dunbar and his attacker suffered from dementia, police said.

Dunbar was taken to UF Health and developed a hematoma that required brain surgery. The police report says that at the time, doctors said it was unknown if Dunbar would survive.

Dunbar's daughter told News4Jax that he died on Jan. 22.

His daughter filed a police report six days after the incident. Police said that at the time, she wanted to press charges.

She told News4Jax on Friday that she did not want to comment on the case.

Jennifer Trapp, a spokeswoman for Consulate Management, which owns the facility, emailed a statement on the incident to News4Jax.

“Patient safety is our top priority so we are saddened by the unfortunate incident at our care center,” Trapp wrote. “While we cannot comment on the details of an open investigation, we are actively engaged with local and state authorities and will continue to cooperate on every level. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the loved ones of our residents, as well as our staff at Harts Harbor."

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said violence like the incident at Harts Harbor isn't always predictable in nursing home facilities.

“It's somewhat difficult in a nursing home because the residents there do have freedom of movement,” Smith said. “They can walk around. The only thing they may be able to do is to look at a person's profile when they come into a nursing home, or even monitor them when they get there and see if they have a tendency for violence. If they do have that, then maybe (they could) sort of restrict their movement. If they can't do that, at least monitor their movement.”

JSO said its homicide unit is investigating the  incident, but it has not been classified as a murder.

Trapp also said that there has been an investigation by the Agency for Health Care Administration into the incident and at this point, no citations for the facility have been issued.

Taking a look at previous inspection reports, News4Jax found that the facility, which is on Harts Road in Jacksonville, has been cited and fined multiple times by state agencies.

The facility's most recent inspection in November showed deficiencies with a leaky roof.

In 2011, the facility was fined $2,500 for what was determined to be an "isolated deficiency."

It was fined $11,000 and $8,000 in 2009 when the state found unsafe side rails on beds and that staffers failed to follow physicians' orders.

The AHCA advised Harts Harbor that the latest round of deficiencies had to be fixed by Dec. 21, 2015.

There's no word from the state agency if those deficiencies were fixed by the deadline.