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Former Saultite's abuse featured on W5 (warning: graphic photos)

Wednesday, February 06, 2013   by: SooToday.com Staff

Many SooToday.com readers will remember Mr. Frank Piccolo from his 30 years teaching at Korah Collegiate and Vocational School and three years at St. Marys College.

They may also remember his wife, Theresa Piccolo from her years as a teacher at Mount St. Joseph Collegiate and Vocational School.

If any of them had been to Lakeside Long-Term Care facility in Toronto this summer, it's likely they would have seen Mrs. Piccolo picketing outside the facility to protest the neglect and abuse her husband suffered in the facility in the years before his death in that facility on May 26, 2012.

She would have been carrying a sign that read: "Stop Violence in Long-Term Care."

Nearly 13 years ago, Mr. Piccolo was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and he subsequently developed dementia.

In 2007, at the age of 63, Mr. Piccolo became a resident at Lakeside Long-Term Care Facility in Toronto, Ontario.

The full story of what happened to him there and what was, or more precisely wasn't done for him will be the subject of a segment of this Saturday's broadcast of W5 and a story in this Saturday's edition of the Saturday Toronto Star.

Mrs. Piccolo says the first two years of Frank's residency went well, but problems developed thereafter.

She began to notice his hair and nails were untrimmed and there were other indicators of declining care as well.

Then, when Frank's physician changed his dosage of medications, Frank suffered a heart attack and seizures.

While being treated for those problems at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Frank was struck with C. difficile. 

 

Once he had recovered sufficiently from these problems, he was returned to Lakeside, but the facilities at Lakeside were inadequate to care for him in his condition and he went to Toronto General Hospital to continue his care.

 

He lost his ability to speak and was confined to a wheelchair by the time he, once again, returned to Lakeside and, over the next two years, his care improved remarkably after the facility came under the leadership of a new Director of Care. 

 

That Director of Care moved on and, under a new Director of Care, Frank's quality of care took a nose dive, said Mrs. Piccolo in an interview with SooToday.com.

 

On February 18, 2012, he was attacked in his room twice by another Lakeside resident (a female).

 

“My husband couldn’t defend himself or yell for help,” she said. “When they found him, there was blood spread around the room and his clothing was soaked with blood.”

 

Mr. Piccolo was sent to St. Joseph’s Hospital for treatment of the wounds he sustained in the viscous attacks.

 

He required stitches for some of the cuts to his head and face and, after spending 13 hours at St. Joseph's, the Piccolos returned to Frank's room at Lakeside only to find it as they left it - covered in blood.

 

Over the course of the next few days, Frank's eyes blackened and evidence of more serious underlying damage to his face became apparent.

 

Police were called to investigate but no charges were laid and Mrs. Piccolo said that no senior staff at Lakeside came to check on Frank, either.

 

The couple's daughter, Christina McCarthy, took four days off work to come down to Toronto and help care for him.

 

The two women received no government assistance and little staff support in their efforts to care for Frank, whose condition was obviously declining.

 

Mrs. Piccolo ended up hiring a personal support worker to help care for Frank during the rest of his time at Lakeside.

 

“I couldn’t get over the callousness of the way he was treated. It was as if he didn’t exist,” she told SooToday.com.

 

”The care was abominable.”

 

In May, some 12 weeks after the attacks, Frank was moved to a different floor and away from his attacker but it was too late for him.

 

”They killed the desire to live and he stopped eating,” said Mrs. Piccolo. 

 

Frank died on May 26, 2012.

 

Lakeside settled a lawsuit with Mrs. Piccolo, the details of which are confidential, but Mrs. Piccolo remains unsatisfied with Lakeside's response to what happened to her husband and the lack of response she received from government offices, the coroner's office and others she contacted.

 

All of her letters went unanswered and she says she will be returning to picket outside the place she believes killed her husband, when she trusted it to care for him.

 

Visit the W5 and Toronto Star webpages for more information on the upcoming broadcast featuring Frank and Theresa Piccolo's full story.

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Comments
46
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of SooToday.com. If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
steve53000 2/6/2013 12:12:17 PM Report

So sorry for your loss Myself as many will probably have a great sense of hoping something will be done that this shall never happen to anyone else.
Such a great person to have this done to him.
beanie 2/6/2013 12:26:53 PM Report

What an absolute shame that this would happen to anyone! Mr. Piccolo was one of my favorite teachers and a good man!!
fatafr 2/6/2013 12:28:26 PM Report

This is an absolutely horrific story and my sincerest condolences go out to Theresa and her family. I had the opportunity to have Mr. Piccolo as my very first home room teacher at St. Mary's College in Sept. 1966. He was a very good teacher, firm but fair and just as I'm writing this, I can picture him as he looked back then.
To see him as he looked here, in these photos, during his final days, is very disturbing and I truly and sincerely feel sorry for what Frank and Theresa had to put up with at this Lakeside Long Term Care facility.
Nats85 2/6/2013 12:29:25 PM Report

Absolutely heartbreaking. What a terrible event to take place in this family's life. I hope she brings this situation to as much light as possible. Too many stories come about from Nursing Homes etc. and more needs to be done. My heart goes out to her and her family for their loss. Loss of a loved one is a difficult thing to try and heal your heart and spirit from, what's worse trying to get answers while grieving.
Flyers08 2/6/2013 12:31:12 PM Report

I had Mr. Piccolo throughout my years at Korah. He was a super kind man and one of my favorite teachers. To see this happen to him is a little disturbing to say the least. Thoughts go out to all family members!
t-bell 2/6/2013 12:34:03 PM Report

Horrible, how could someone in their right mind do this to a human being... my heart breaks for the families that experience anything like this. i really hope thersea gets the answers she needs to get ASAP. my heart goes out to you.
Wicket 2/6/2013 12:36:24 PM Report

How sad, my heart goes out to the family.
Hopefully, charges will be laid against the owners and management after this is aired and others, who have family members in this facility will see the documentary and stay on top of things in the care of their loved ones.
epc 2/6/2013 1:09:20 PM Report

My heart is saddened by this.

shhh 2/6/2013 1:34:23 PM Report

What a sad, sad world we live in.
Spyyder 2/6/2013 1:39:48 PM Report

A very unfortunate incident indeed! I myself too had Frank as a teacher. All nursing homes and long term care facilities care about is money and the bottom line. Nurses and care providers believe they are invincible, have a guaranteed job for life and face no repercussions for what ever they might do... Even hastening someone's death in order to open up a bed for the next victim equalling more money!! Something similar happened to my uncle.
memyselfandi46 2/6/2013 1:44:00 PM Report

very sad... no words can describe how I feel right now...
BethMadonna 2/6/2013 1:44:00 PM Report

Mr Piccolo was a well-respected teacher at Korah, in the science classes along with Mr. Bailey, his good friend. For those of us that attended Korah in the late '80's, it was common to see the two of them, joking and chatting with the students from the doors of their adjacent classrooms. The treatment of Mr. Piccolo in this facility is disgusting to say the least and any support that we can give, the alumni are here to support. by bethbarber
Ms Alotta 2/6/2013 1:50:53 PM Report

This story is so horribly sad. I never had the privilege of knowing the Piccolo's but what they are going through should never be experienced by anyone. There ought to be a criminal investigation by authorities and charges laid against those who allowed such an egregious situation to develop. However it seems the whole jaded and callous system is at fault. At the very least, the W5 broadcast may make us ask some tough questions if we are faced with having to place a vulnerable family member in such a facility. As I grieve the loss of both of my parents this past year due to old age, I am comforted in the knowledge that neither one of them spent a moment in long term care (care?)
Drmcorpschick 2/6/2013 2:17:35 PM Report

As a personal support worker myself, this saddens me and is the reason why I came to be in this profession. I greet all my residents with a hello and good morning when I see them. They are treated like family to me. My condolences go out to the family. Not all homes are like this thankfully.
Ms Alotta 2/6/2013 2:27:31 PM Report

Drmcorpschick, I believe the vast majority of PSWs are kind and take excellent care of their patients, however 1 case like this is far too many. Thanks for your care and professionalism.
flyhawk25 2/6/2013 2:32:10 PM Report

I played basketball with Frank on one of the first SMC teams and later taught with him at St. Mary's.
He was the first of our group of lay teachers to be married and I have wonderful memories of a kind, gentle man and excellent teacher.
This is a tragedy that needs to be addressed.
God rest his soul.
chauchi 2/6/2013 2:36:46 PM Report

WOW SO UNBELIEVABLE THAT SOMETHING LIKE THIS CAN EVEN HAPPEN IN OUR LIFE TIME AT THAT AGE.IT JUST GOES TO SHOW THAT THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT DESTROY OTHER PEOPLES LIVES AND GET AWAY WITH IT.CARMA IS AND WILL BE A BITCH!!!!! REST IN PEACE FRANK AND IT WAS AN HONOUR HAVING U TEACH ME IN KORAH HIGH. MRS THERESA PICCOLO DO NOT LET UP, YOU WILL PREVAIL. LET THEM PAY HARD.
nanci 2/6/2013 2:39:13 PM Report

My father is in a longterm care facility in Toronto. I worry about him all the time. Bless you for bringing this to the forefront as ugly a situation as this is. We spend $3000 per month for a room and three meals a day. He is a war vet. His room is no bigger than a closet and he complains about being cold all the time. Bought him a heater..twice, both went missing? Will watch W5 and pray that the caregivers of our loved ones become more responsible,give them a heads up that abuse to the elderly will not be tolerated. Thank you.
Nats85 2/6/2013 2:48:24 PM Report

"Gone missing"? What the..? A shame that you spend that much money for your father who is A VETERAN and served to protect this country and his belongings "go missing" with out any answers. I would not tolerate that, and it's worse that for the money you are paying to HOPEFULLY have him cared for and treated with respect and good hearts, he is cold. They should be paying more attention to how they dress him and whether the building is sufficient (maybe a draft coming in from the window because it's not properly installed or insullated). Shame on those responsible for buildings and staff that care for our elderly. Those people have parents and grandparents, they need to look around and ask if the care and accomodations is good enough for their loved ones. If not, do something about it.
billybob 2/6/2013 3:06:51 PM Report

So sad....My favourite teacher in high school. Always smiling and joking.
happyhomer 2/6/2013 3:18:05 PM Report

I am just so very very sad by this...no words to describe. My sincere condolences to the family and friends. I am just so sorry that anyone has had to go through this! Its just not right...
leeza 2/6/2013 4:25:49 PM Report

This is absolutely sickening and as I see the pictures, I am stricken with horror and then anger. What a society we live in! Terribly disgusted!!
arizonagryphon3 2/6/2013 6:03:04 PM Report

This makes me want to cry. How can someone do this to another defenseless human being. So, so sad.
sparoma 2/6/2013 6:13:43 PM Report

As a former student of Mr Piccolo, I feel so sad after reading this story. I did not even realize that he had passed away. I shed tears thinking about how horrible his last days must have been for him. I will always remember his wit, his smile and his love of science and teaching. Prayers for strength go out to the family. Thank you for bringing such a personal tragedy to the forefront and hopefully preventing this kind of treatment for others. I am hopefully you will get justice for your loved one.
Tom_Bom 2/6/2013 6:35:50 PM Report

This is absolutely terrible. This should not happen. Unfortunately with these long term care facilitys instances like this happen more often then I want to think about.

We need to stand up for senior abuse and neglect. To me, neglect is a form of abuse. 1 life fallen victim to such an atrocity is 1 life too many.

Our seniors spent their lives helping to make our country what it is today. We need to take care of them properly and provide much better support for them then we currently do. Look into that mans eyes. There is still a person in there. A person that was grossly neglected.

We need to take our of our seniors properly. There is no excuse for instances like this. None. And i won't accept one.
happy camper 2/6/2013 6:37:23 PM Report

Prisoners are treated better than the old folks. Shame , shame ,shame on the system for letting things like this happen. More is spent on keeping some one in jail than is spent on the people that took the time to be productive members of society and paying thier way all thier lifes and to have to finnish off thier time like this. Its a shame.
frizz 2/6/2013 6:38:02 PM Report

Plain and simple where is the justice for one who was so happy and kind to all. We loved him at Korah and to think this would happen to him just breaks my heart. There are no words to describe this. To his family. We all care and wish we had known. Maybe all of us together could have made a difference for one who made such a difference for us. We are so very very sorry.
shanie21 2/6/2013 6:43:36 PM Report

I can't shake this story from my mind. Mr Piccolo is a teacher that will always stand out for me at Korah, so kind with such a great sense of humour. I am so sorry that he had to go through this, as nobody deserves to be treated this way. I hope that this long term facility will be investigated and every person involved terminated.
My heart goes out to the entire family and I will also be willing to help with anything in any way. Be it petition, picketing etc. S.Kelly
teets 2/6/2013 6:46:52 PM Report

I always looked forward to attending Mr. Piccolo's classes at Korah Collegiate. He was one of the best teachers that I had the honour of meeting. He was as smart as a whip and had a humour to match.
What a shame that his life had to end in such a horrific way.
My sincere condolences to the Piccolo family and I praise them on going public.
It is so disgusting that inmates have more protection & surveillance ( to name a few ) than our sick and elderly .
RIP
reddengirl 2/6/2013 7:10:08 PM Report

This is such a sad story...I was privileged enough to have Mr Piccalo as a teacher at Korah..he stands out among the few that made a difference in my life. His sense of humor is what kept me going through chemistry class. This story has touched me more than anyone could image...I have parents that are in their later stages of life and the thought of having to them in a home and have to deal with this is absolutely sickening!!!!! We as a society need to do what we can to stop this...if we all work together maybe we can right the wrong that is going on in todays society!!!!
Slick73 2/6/2013 8:10:41 PM Report

It doesn't get any worse than this...so very sad. My condolences go out to the family. I also had him as a teacher and it was a real pleasure. May his soul rest in peace.
quality29 2/6/2013 8:32:33 PM Report

I am SICK to my stomach reading this. I am simply heartbroken to hear of the trauma that his family has endured. Mr. Piccolo was my favourite teacher at Korah, and although I am greatly saddened to learn of his death, I am absolutely outraged to hear that the last years of his life were spent going through hell.
lodgekeepers 2/6/2013 8:33:22 PM Report

I am so sad by this story. Like hundreds of other students from Korah in the 70s and 80s, I have great memories of a wonderful teacher, and a great person. His love of science, his passion for life, and his caring ways made him one of the greats. Frank and his pal, Skip Bailey, used to rib one another all day long, and all students wanted to be in their classes. God Bless you sir. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Thank you for everything you did for all of us.
sherry99 2/6/2013 8:37:50 PM Report

I can not beleive that a person would be treated in this manner. He was an excellent educator and a good man. I was in his class at Korah Collegiate. This man deserved respect and dignity. Did they think that just because he was striction with this terrible disease that he didn't matter anymore? I work with the elderly and would never dream of treating someone this way. These are our parents and grandparents and how would they feel if their families were treated in this disgusting manner. I Just don't understand why this is going on in today's society. It is time for the government to step up and take action against these homes and workers and protect the cititzens that help build this country to where we are today. Rest in peace Mr. Piccolo
hugoboss 2/6/2013 9:13:18 PM Report

Truly a gentleman and great educator I had the privledge of meeting. I always looked forward to attending his classes and must say he made an impression as who I am today. Mrs. Piccolo and family be proud of your husband and father and do not let up. Thank you Mr. Piccolo.
DOMAR 2/6/2013 10:34:57 PM Report

He was just a great person. Always had a smile and treated everyone the same. I to was so priviledged to have him as my science teacher at Korah. I will always remember Frank from my days at Korah. This story truly shows how precious life is. My heart go's out to the family.
madworld39 2/6/2013 10:43:30 PM Report

makes me sick to my stomach and breaks my heart. this man was amazing and had the best sense of humour. no one deserves to be treates so badly. he deserved so much better than this. i hope the people responsible get what they deserve. karma can be a bitch! rest in peace mr piccolo :`(
KMF61MCF 2/6/2013 11:04:56 PM Report

Rest in Peace Mr. Piccolo may God Bless you. Mr. Piccolo was an awesome Teacher one of the best. He sure did not deserve to suffer and to die the way he did. Sad very sad how anyone could abuse a Elderly person that's so helpless like this. Mrs.Piccolo my heart goes out to you and your Family. Press on and fight the fight for him. Your in my heart and Prayers.
dukes 2/7/2013 7:52:22 AM Report

I have never met this family, however I a grateful they had placed this story in sootoday, to educate me. I have loved ones who may be needing long term care treatment someday and I need to see the realities of what can happen to them, when there is not proper care. In viewing the pictures I could not imagine the pain, the loved one endured while living this experience. This is real and we are not prepared for what is coming with the baby boomers generation. Keep fighting Theresa, please keep fighting, It is people like you who makes change in society, governments, etc. All it takes is one person and the rest will follow. Thanks for sharing this story, it takes a lot of courage to do so.
geesmom 2/7/2013 11:10:29 AM Report

This man was a wonderful husband, loving father, true friend and dedicated and approachable teacher. His easy-going and fun-loving demeanour made him a favourite of many. The fact alone that he suffered from such a terrible illness is heartbreaking. What becomes inconceivable and intolerable is that the system FAILED HIM and his family terribly. What he and his family had to endured and continue to deal with almost 9 months after his passing is disgusting! Is no one accountable for this brutal attack? There are many loving individuals who are passionate about their calling in these homes. Their dedication to their patients and their families is appreciated so much. Lakeside failed to provide a safe environment for Mr. Piccolo. Lakeside showed no compassion to this man and his family. I can't wait to see/hear their well-scripted, lawyer-composed comments and response or lack there of on Saturday's W5
firefly42 2/7/2013 2:38:09 PM Report

Well said Shane and Beth! I didn't have the privilege of being taught by Mr. Piccolo but I was in a few of Mr. Bailey's classes so I got to be around him! It saddens and disgusts me that someone that was so wonderful went through this horror in his last years of life. Nobody should be treated this way! My thoughts are with his family as they continue this fight!
dj0325 2/7/2013 9:14:44 PM Report

I'm sorry but I work at a nursing home in SSM, and these pictures that you are veiwing should state under them these are pictures tooken after a fall and from injuries suffered from another resident, this is not abuse by a staff member if it was the person would of been charged, also we are governed by the MOHLTC, and beleive me they do not put up with anything, we have laws and regs to follow, if you have a loved one in a Licenced Nursing Home they are being taken care of Our Policys and laws are ZERO TOLERANCE for abuse, if you are not familiar with Nursing Homes I suggest you take a tour, it is not a walk in the park you have all different diagnosis's, staff have an average of 3-5 minutes per resident due to workload, and working shortstaffed, I can go on forever but before you judge Nursing Homes know all the facts
Ms Alotta 2/7/2013 10:17:29 PM Report

When an elderly person is subjected to such atrocities, their family doesn't think about how overworked and understaffed the facility is. They paid for and were promised CARE! Staff and management are responsible for the safety of residents. Period. The laws and practices in place certainly did not protect Mr. Piccolo.
geesmom 2/8/2013 12:38:57 AM Report

NOWHERE did Mrs. Piccolo say that any staff laid their hands on Mr. Piccolo. If I may quote from the story, "On February 18, 2012, he was attacked in his room twice by another Lakeside resident (a female)." You are fortunate to work in a home that is well governed. Lakeside does not appear to adhere to the same values and principles that your facility does. Please know all the facts before you judge. Not all facilities are the same. Before YOU judge, take a walk through Lakeside. Perhaps as many tune into the W5 episode on Saturday, we will all be enlightened as to the Piccolo's situation as well as educated on Long Term Care facilities in Ontario.
dj0325 2/8/2013 2:32:10 PM Report

Misunderstanding, I understand that family members pay a great deal of money for their loved to be protected and taken care of, and when your loved one is in a Long Term Care Nursing Home(licensed) their safey and well being are the most important thing, regardless of staffing issues or overworked. But sometimes things happen beyond anyones control, re: another resident assaulting another, that other resident is probally very demented and has no clue of what they are doing, and I know it is staffs responsibility to monitor, but we do get busy and cannot always be there because we are looking after another familys loved one. Patient to staff ratio is 1 to 10 residents, you are not going to get one to one care no matter how much we want it, staff would love to spend more time with the residents but time does not permit this. I feel horrible that this family member had to suffer the way they did, and his family is still suffering, and I hope they get all the answers they deserve. But we as staff and human beings would never let anyone's loved one be abused and not attempt to rectify the problem.
muf 2/9/2013 11:27:08 PM Report

dj.....You must work for Extendecare ....way to tow the company line.
Comments
46
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