Woman Sues NJ Nursing Home for Alleged Neglect

A woman has filed a lawsuit against a defunct state-run New Jersey nursing home for neglect she says led to her 68-year-old sister’s death.

Lori Centrella is suing Woodbridge Developmental Center in Avenel for the alleged neglect of her sister Maureen Doran.

Centrella says her sister, who she called a “big person in a six-year-old’s body,” lived at Woodbridge for 14 years and loved it. But in 2012, when the state announced the facility was closing, the problems began, according to Centrella.

“Once staff started to cut back, they couldn’t keep an eye on everybody,” Centrella said. “People started tripping and getting hurt.”

Centrella says her sister sustained several injuries after another resident entered her room and beat her with a metal chair as she lay in bed. The incident left Doren with broken eye sockets, a broken nose and internal bleeding, Centrella says.

A few months later, Doren choked on food at the facility, Centrella says.

“I spoke to a staff member there and was told confidentially she was being fed laying down, and they were worried about her because they were told to feed her laying down,” Centrella said.

Doren developed pneumonia following the choking incident and died, according to Centrella. Now, she says she wants someone to be held responsible for her sister’s death.

“It’s about accountability,” Centrella said. “No one has been held accountable for my sister choking to death or being beaten.”

NBC 4 New York reached out to New Jersey’s Department of Human Services for comment, but a spokesperson said they could not comment on pending litigation.

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