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Orpea under the blow of a first salvo of complaints from families

Reception panel of an Ehpad of the Orpea group, in Rezé, in Loire-Atlantique, on February 10, 2022.

This is only a first salvo, but it is already substantial: the lawyer Sarah Saldmann, who for two months had been collecting cases of abuse and neglect in the establishments of the Orpea group, European leader in retirement homes, filed , Monday, April 4, 80 complaints against the group to the Nanterre prosecutor’s office, which has not yet confirmed receipt. “In terms of facts, we often have the same offenses that come back”explains the lawyer: “endangering the life of others, failure to assist a person in danger” and “manslaughter”for the most serious cases.

Mand Saldmann spent two months “intense” to sort through the hundreds of cases that have been communicated to him. She has chosen to keep only the files which are not likely to be prescribed, therefore dated less than six years. It also favored files containing evidence: “Exchanges of letters, letters to regional health agencies, photos, bailiff’s reports, recordings…”

The sum of the complaints once again draws the unflattering portrait, already widely evoked in the book-investigation by journalist Victor Castanet, The Gravediggers (Fayard), which launched the scandal at the end of January, of a group concerned above all by its profits, to the detriment of the quality of services and care, but also of the working conditions of employees. “A lack of care, staff, non-compliance with drug prescriptions”summarizes Mand Saldman. “The lack of staff is obvious”, supports the lawyer. Among the complaints for “manslaughter”, which represent up to ” a third ” of the total, there are thus many cases of dehydration, for lack of personnel to encourage the elderly to drink regularly.

Excerpts from “Gravediggers”: Article reserved for our subscribers “Already, there was this terrible smell of piss, from the entrance”: extracts from “Gravediggers”, an investigation into the business of old age

A third of complaints for “involuntary homicide”

If they come from all over France and concern around thirty establishments, many complaints concern the Hauts-de-Seine, in particular the Ehpad des Bords-de-Seine in Neuilly. This establishment, at the heart of the revelations of Mr. Castanet’s book, was the subject of an inspection by the regional health agency (ARS) of Ile-de-France, with severe conclusions, which enjoin him to make a series of changes within three months. Other complaints target the Le Corbusier establishment in Boulogne-Billancourt, which has also already been mentioned before the National Assembly’s social affairs commission.

Mand Saldmann, who continues to receive “every day new requests”, should quickly file a new round of complaints. They will be added to the other proceedings in progress against the Orpea group.

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