Wife of man who died at Mission Point files lawsuit against Ishpeming facility

Published: May. 1, 2023 at 6:48 PM EDT
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ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - A lawsuit has been filed against Mission Point Nursing & Physical Rehabilitation Center of Ishpeming.

This comes after TV6 reported in February about the death of a patient at the facility.

Sharon Bellmore’s husband, Richard, died at Mission Point on December 14.

“He liked to go for rides on his four-wheeler and he put in a big garden, like every year,” said Sharon Bellmore. “He liked to be outside a lot.”

Richard Bellmore’s health declined in 2022. He was diabetic and on kidney dialysis.

In July, he fell and broke his hip, leading to hospitalization. He then needed to undergo physical therapy at a place with 24-hour care.

“The thing of it is, not all places take people on dialysis, so I kind of had to take whoever would take my husband,” Sharon Bellmore said.

That place was Mission Point in Ishpeming.

Sharon said she visited Richard there on her days off.

“When I went in there the first time, it looked like it was really outdated as far as the rooms and that went,” said Sharon Bellmore.

On December 14, Bellmore said she was informed by Mission Point that her husband was found dead, but she was given little other information.

However, two months later, a family member saw our report on Mission Point.

Bellmore said it was then she realized the true circumstances of her husband’s death.

“My niece had seen the TV6 news and she’s the one that brought it to by attention,” Bellmore said.

In February, TV6 reported a patient was found dead in his room at Mission Point around 2:30 a.m. on December 14.

According to a January Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs report, he was discovered without a pulse after an unwitnessed fall.

We now know that patient was Richard Bellmore, who was 61 years old.

The state report said just before Richard was found without a pulse, a Mission Point staff member referred to as “CNA G” left to bring another CNA home.

When “CNA G” returned around 2:45 a.m., they found another CNA and RN pronouncing Richard dead.

Richard was a “full code” resident, meaning he required resuscitation through any means necessary.

However, staff weren’t performing CPR yet and later said they didn’t know Richard was a “full code.”

“CNA G” told them this and contacted Emergency Medical Services at 2:52 a.m.

EMS got there around 3 a.m.

A paramedic who responded that night told the state investigator that when they arrived, they found three staff doing CPR incorrectly.

The paramedic said they remembered asking what took so long to call.

The director of nursing and the nursing home administrator were not contacted that night.

Now, Sharon Bellmore is suing Mission Point, seeking damages under the Michigan Wrongful Death Act.

The lawsuit says Mission Point never told Sharon Bellmore how Richard Bellmore died.

It says, “The facts and circumstances surrounding the death of... Richard Bellmore, were deliberately concealed by the defendant... At no time was she told the true facts or circumstances of her husband’s death. Instead, she was simply told that her husband was found deceased.”

Sharon Bellmore is seeking $1 million in damages related to, “conscious pain and suffering sustained by (Richard) prior to his death... funeral and burial expenses... loss of society and companionship damages... and other injuries and damages will be determined through the further course of discovery.”

“When he died, they didn’t call 911 right away,” Sharon Bellmore said. “Which they should have. And they should have tried to save him because he was a full code. And they didn’t try doing that right away. They cleaned him up to get him ready for the funeral home to come pick him up instead of doing what they were supposed to do.”

Bellmore’s lawyer, Jules B. Olsman, says Mission Point still isn’t coming forward with all the information.

“The facility, at this point, is simply compounding everything by not releasing Mr. Bellmore’s records to us,” said Olsman. “We’ve made multiple requests for his records. I know that Mrs. Bellmore has made request for his records. They should have been provided a long time ago and they still haven’t.”

Sharon Bellmore said she hopes what happened to her never happens to anyone else.

“Other families shouldn’t go through what I’m going through, with doing this,” Bellmore said. “I mean, my husband was important to me, but he was important to other people too, so we should be able to hopefully find out the truth of what happened because what they did wasn’t right.”

Mission Point Healthcare Services told TV6 in February, “three administrative staff members” were “immediately removed” after the state’s investigation in January.

They said they “have since hired replacements for the key administrative roles.”

A Mission Point employee told TV6 this includes the director of nursing and nursing home administrator.

When we asked about the lawsuit, Mission Point told TV6, “The health and wellness of both our residents and staff members is our highest priority. Since a legal complaint has been filed, we are unable to provide any additional information at this time.”