(Lafayette, GA) – A forensic pathologist says a woman who died at a Georgia nursing home in 2015 was essentially eaten alive. Rebecca Zeni, 93, died after a scabies infestation, small mites that burrow into flesh, lay eggs and feed.
A lawsuit filed by the family says state health officials were notified several times about the scabies problem at Shepherd Hill Nursing Home but never conducted an inspection.
According to the family’s lawyer, attorney Stephen Chance, the staff had been ordered not to attend to Zeni’s skin.
“There was a conversation at this nursing home with a healthcare provider about being careful about touching Ms. Zeni’s hand for fear that it might fall off her body,” Chance said in an interview.
The idea that the staff is responsible for Zeni’s death was echoed by the medical examiner who performed her autopsy.
“Having seen what I’ve seen with Ms. Zeni, I think that is frankly a good characterization,” said Sperry. “I would seriously consider calling this a homicide by neglect.”
Former Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner Kris Sperry called it one of the most horrendous things he’s seen in his career and it’s likely Zeni suffered a painful death.
He estimates hundreds of millions of the mites were living inside Zeni when she died.
Photographs of Zeni before her death show various body parts covered that look like her hand or that are raw and red. What’s more disturbing is those responsible for her care did absolutely nothing to help the woman.