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New report released in connection to death of resident at Safire Rehabilitation in Town of Tonawanda

Posted at 11:33 AM, Jul 06, 2022

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — A new report has been released in connection to the investigation of a death of a resident at Safire Rehabilitation of Northtowns in February 2022.

On February 8 the New York State Department of Health announced it was investigating the death of a resident at the facility.

On February 11 Town of Tonawanda police announced a resident, 78-year-old Judith Schrecengost, was found dead outside the facility on February 8.

A new report is out from the NYSDOH, detailing what might have led to her death. The Buffalo News was first to report those new details, revealing that she fell out of a window that was not supposed to open as wide as it did and according to the report her body was not found until the next morning.

7 News spoke with Schrecengost's daughter, Tina Delgrolice, and the family's attorneys about the report.

Schrecengost was recovering from a stroke at the facility when she went through the third-floor window. Delgrolice said she believed the fall could have been prevented, that the window never should have opened as wide as it did.

Delgrolice also told 7 News that the last time Schrecengost was seen was at 5:29 the day before, which meant she was missing for about 16 hours.

Delgrolice and family attorneys said someone should have known she was missing during that time, "you don't check on her? You didn't notice she wasn't there to give her her morning medication?"

Attorneys from Brown Chiari said the recent report from the NYSDOH confirmed that the window she got out of was not supposed to open more than six inches. The attorneys said someone should have known something was wrong when they found the window open on a cold winter night.

"Video footage later showed her going down a hallway around 5:30 and never coming back down that hallway. So when her dinner tray got cleared nobody looked for her and the CNA who shut that open window, somebody said 'oh it feels cold in the hallway' they shut the window, also never told anybody 'hey I just shut a window that was two feet open'," said attorney Michael Benz.

Attorneys said after the investigation it was determined numerous windows in the facility had the same issue.

According to the attorneys, it is believed Schrecengost only had a broken pelvis after the fall and she lived for several hours after that and was then found dead the next day.

Delgrolice said she believed it was an accident, "she wouldn't have came this far, I think, to go voluntarily out of a window."

Delgrolice told 7 News she wants her mom to be remembered as a fighter and a giver.

7 News reached out to the attorney representing the nursing home and she said "no comment due to pending litigation."

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