Deer crashes through Johnstown nursing home window

JOHNSTOWN – It was a wildlife misadventure that folks at the Wells Nursing Home in Johnstown won’t soon forget. It began with the loud sound of broken glass at about 2:00 p.m. Monday.

“I was sitting at my desk and I heard screaming out in the hall,” recalled Neal Van Slyke, the Wells Nursing Home administrator.

While Van Slyke heard the commotion, Bill Betts, the director of rehab, was an eyewitness when the wayward deer came crashing through the window of the rehab department.

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“I was in another office and I thought to myself, ‘I need to get my cellphone’, because no one’s going to believe me that there was a six-point buck jumping around in there.”

It wasn’t just jumping, it was thrashing, it was agitated, and it was petrified. He was clearly searching for a way out. The mirrors on the wall seemed to further confuse the horrified herbivore. Fortunately, there were no elderly residents in the room at the time.

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“Another lucky thing is that it didn’t get out of our department,” Betts pointed out. “Obviously the doors were shut. If that had gotten out, it could have stayed on the ground floor. Who knows what would have happened at that point?”

“About ten minutes later, after it was sort of thrashing around and trying to get out, it came through the second window,” Van Slyke said.

“You can laugh about it now,” Betts added. “But at the time, thank goodness there was no one in the department, no residents, no patients.”

Inside the operations manual at nursing homes, you will find contingency plans for anything that could happen. What happened on Monday you won’t find in any book, and Van Slyke says you probably never will.