Georgia nurses laugh as 89-year-old WWII veteran dies gasping for air in video

Aris Folley

Hidden footage from 2014 shows the disturbing moment a group of nurses laughed as a World War II veteran repeatedly called for help and died.

The family of 89-year-old James Dempsey of Woodstock, Georgia, installed a hidden camera in his room at the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation Center when he first moved in, fearing mistreatment.

The camera later captured the night he died.

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The video showed Dempsey calling for help, even telling the nurses that he couldn't breathe at one point. It also showed nurses laughing as his breathing machine failed.

Dempsey's family initially thought the decorated veteran passed from natural causes. But after reviewing the footage, what Dempsey's family saw sparked a three-year legal battle. 

According to WXIA-TV, the Dempsey family declined to comment on the case or video, citing a settlement with the nursing home. 

However, the local station managed to obtain the footage after a DeKalb County Judge ruled to unseal the clip.

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It wasn't until after the outlet sent a link to the footage of the incident to The Georgia Board of Nursing that the two nurses surrendered their licenses.

WXIA also reported that records show the nursing home has continued to have problems, including $813,000 in Medicare fines dating back to 2015. The station reported the institution received a good inspection report earlier this year, but still holds a one-star rating from Medicare.