The heartbroken daughter of an aged centre resident who died of coronavirus during Melbourne’s horrific second wave has now launched legal action.
The heartbroken daughter of an aged centre resident who died of coronavirus during Melbourne’s horrific second wave has now launched legal action.

Legal action after ‘nasty and grim’ aged care stories

A grieving daughter has launched legal action against St Basil's Home for the Aged, where dozens of residents were killed by coronavirus.

Effie Fotiadis' father Dimitrios died on July 25 at Northern Hospital after he became infected at the home.

A statement of claim filed to the Supreme Court on Thursday alleges St Basil's breached its duty of care to residents - and that contributed to the deadly outbreak.

It also faces accusations it repeatedly breached state and federal regulations by continuing to operate when it should have been clear lives were under threat, court documents stated.

The move could pave the way for a major class action.

Ms Fotiadis told the Herald Sun the 79-year-old could still be alive today if the aged care home had of acted differently.

"If he had of lived, I wouldn't let him back there - he would be with me."

The 48-year-old said she was "still grieving" but was taking the court action because there needed to be accountability.

Dimitrios Fotiadis died in Northern Hospital, aged 79, Picture: Tony Gough
Dimitrios Fotiadis died in Northern Hospital, aged 79, Picture: Tony Gough

"That's why I've done this - it isn't about money."

She said St Basil's, which is owned by the Greek Orthodox Church, had not handled the infections properly.

"There should have been more care and more workers. They could have stopped this getting out of control … they didn't look after him."

She still had many questions about his care, including how long it took to get him into hospital.

"I last saw him two days before he died. I told him to stay strong."

Ms Fotiadis has tried to get his belongings, including photos, back from the retirement home, but has not had calls returned.

Carbone Lawyers partner John Karantzis said he was acting for 15 families who had "suffered pain, anguish and anxiety as a result of the mismanagement and dereliction of duties from the operators of St Basils."

Mr Karantzis said many of the clients wanted to send a message that it could never again be repeated.

 

The residents at St Basil's Home for the Aged were relocated. Picture: Andrew Henshaw
The residents at St Basil's Home for the Aged were relocated. Picture: Andrew Henshaw

"Our clients are devastated. I think it is in excess of 30 people that have died now. they are elderly and frail and vulnerable and they have been treated … well, it's incomprehensible. There are some nasty, grim tales of the elderly being left in their rooms for days on end."

He said families weren't allowed to see them and then had their loved ones"shipped out" to hospitals.

"The chaos it has caused is unbelievable."

Mr Karantzis said most of the families couldn't believe it had happened in a "civilised society".

Managing partner of Carbone Lawyers Tony Carbone there could be more legal action on the way.

"They were in their care and it was a gross breach of their obligations to look after the vulnerable elderly. All the other homes out there are notice that no one is prepared to stomach such poor treatment of their loved ones and changes have to occur."

State Coroner John Cain will investigate at least five deaths at the Fawkner home, that has been run by replacement staff after St Basil's workers were ordered into quarantine.

St Basil's did not reply to requests for comment.

Carbone Lawyers launched a class action action against Epping Gardens aged-care facility earlier this week, where there have been multiple deaths.

 

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andrew.koubaridis@news.com.au

 

 

Originally published as Legal action after 'nasty, grim' St Basil's stories


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