Lawsuit Blames 2 COVID-19 Cases On Home Health Care Company

A new lawsuit is placing the blame for two coronavirus cases on a home health care company. KDKA's Nicole Ford has more.

Video Transcript

JOHN CORCORAN JR: And they just didn't have enough protective gear, so that's the issue.

STACY SMITH: A new lawsuit is placing the blame for two COVID cases on a home health care company. Good evening. A couple from Bethel Park says a physical therapist came into their home and gave them COVID.

KYM GABLE: And now they want to make sure other patients aren't put in the same position when they invite health care workers into their homes. Nicole Ford is live in Washington County where the company in this case is based. Nicole.

NICOLE FORD: Stacy, Kym, this lawsuit filed in court on Tuesday claims that this physical therapy office sent a therapist into a couple's home without following the proper CDC protocols. That couple believes they contracted COVID-19 from the therapist and now they're fighting back.

John Boyle and Cheryl McKinney have quarantined for over a year in their Bethel Park home.

JOHN CORCORAN JR: Because of his age and he just had open heart surgery. So, accordingly, because of that, because of the surgery, they were staying at home. They were in place at home. So, it wasn't a situation where they were going to Giant Eagle or something.

NICOLE FORD: Attorney John Corcoran Jr. is representing the couple. He says after that surgery in November, Boyle needed physical therapy.

JOHN CORCORAN JR: If you remember, this was the height of the new resurgence of the pandemic. Accordingly, it was a lot worse.

NICOLE FORD: To avoid going anywhere and limit contact, the couple got a home therapist from Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy Associates in North Charleroi.

JOHN CORCORAN JR: She was wearing a mask but it wasn't properly placed on her face. Moreover, it wasn't an N95 mask, right? Furthermore, she came in, shook the gentleman's hand. It wasn't necessarily-- it wasn't gloved. And what happened was, almost right after the physical therapy the next day, she called me via my clients that she had COVID-19.

NICOLE FORD: Days later, that couple also contracted COVID-19. The lawsuit claims the therapist was the only person to come in contact with the couple.

JOHN CORCORAN JR: Medical professionals who are going in to treat someone who has a heart condition, they really has to make sure that they are clearly have appropriate PPE on, and then they just didn't have enough protective gear. So that's the issue.

NICOLE FORD: Now they are suing the therapist and the company.

JOHN CORCORAN JR: I think there are some heart into this case, too, also. It's not just a matter of my lawsuit, but also making sure that, going forward, maybe this will put the sign out there to make sure that as they do future work with people who were susceptible to getting COVID, they're doing appropriate precautionary measures.

NICOLE FORD: The physical therapy company has locations nationwide. I reached out to both the corporate company and local administrator for comment but have not heard back.

The attorney tells me, ultimately, this couple wanted to file this lawsuit for other people like them in this at-risk population. The end-all goal is to make sure home health care companies are following better protocols and taking the extra precautions to protect those who have been at home, staying safe for the last year. Reporting live in North Charleroi, Washington County, Nicole Ford, KDKA News.