Nurse talks about caring for woman abandoned at Ala. hospital

Nurse talks about caring for woman abandoned at Ala. hospital

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Edith Allen. Source: Blount County District Attorney Edith Allen. Source: Blount County District Attorney
Emily Lanham. Source: WBRC video Emily Lanham. Source: WBRC video
BLOUNT COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

Those who cared for a woman abandoned at an Alabama hospital three years ago are speaking out.

Edith Allen of Douglasville, Ga., known as Jane "Sally" Doe for the last three years, may finally see justice. Authorities were not only able to identify her recently, but have also arrested the caregiver they say abandoned Allen and stole her Social Security benefits.

St. Vincent's East staff took care of Allen, who has mental disabilities, until she was transferred to The Olive Home in Blount County.

One nurse says she was withdrawn and quiet at first but the staff at the hospital went above and beyond to make sure she felt loved.

"She just really became our baby. We loved her, took her in," nurse Emily Lanham said.

Lanham is one of the nurses who cared for Allen for the year she was at St. Vincent's East. She says Allen has mental retardation, mental illness and dementia. This prevented Allen from being able to tell authorities who she was and where she had come from.

But none of that mattered to the nursing staff. They named her "Sally" and did all they could to take care of her, dressing her, getting her clothes, and painting her nails. The staff even gave Allen the gold earrings she wears in a photo given to media by authorities.

Lanham says she noticed a big difference in Allen before she left to  be transferred to a care facility in Oneonta. She says Allen really opened up.

"She would gesture. At one point she cold do "Roll Tide" with her hands," Lanham said.

Lanham says she knows the staff made a huge impat on Allen's life, giving her a family during a time when she had no one.

"I just hope we exemplified Christ, gave her plenty of love. I'm sure she can't remember everyone, hope she remembers we loved her," Lanham said.

Lanham says the hospital chaplain would also go into Allen's room and read scriptures to her and pray. When Allen left, Lanham said she had so many gifts from the staff, like stuffed animals and clothing, that she couldn't take it all with her.

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