Inadequate Care leading to Two Elderly Residents Dying
In a Los Angeles Time article on June 11, 2009, it was reported that State officials recently fined two nursing homes in Orange County for providing inadequate care that led to the deaths of two residents.
In late November 2008, an 82 year old woman was admitted to the Alamitos West Health Care Center in Los Alamitos, CA. When she was admitted, a doctor ordered that her fluid intake be monitored by staff at every shift. The registered dietitian on staff could not prove that the nurses at the facility had made sure the woman was drinking enough fluids. Review of patient’s fluid intake forms showed blank spaces or illegible writing. On December 19th, the woman was hospitalized for a urinary tract infection, dehydration and an “altered mental status.” The woman died six days later on Christmas day from her symptoms. The California Department of Public Health found that the nursing home failed to follow proper procedures which caused the patient to suffer dehydration and acute kidney failure and fined the facility $100,000. According to Betsy Hite, the facility’s spokeswoman, the nursing home plans to appeal the fine.
On March 2, 2009, a male resident at the Huntington Valley Healthcare Center in Huntington Beach, CA died because the registered nurse supervisor did not call 911 or administer CPR because she thought the patient had a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). According to State officials, a licensed vocational nurse on staff called a family member to inform them that the man had died. The family member told the nurse to hang up and call 911 because the patient’s medical record included an advance directive form from family which marked the option “I DO WANT C.P.R.” in an emergency situation. When paramedics arrived, they found the man in his bed with no heart beat, a sheet over him, and no signs of C.P.R. being administered. The California Department of Public Health fined the facility $80,000. At this time, the nursing home does not know if they will appeal the fine.
The California Department of Public Health has many rules and regulations that nursing facilities must follow. However, it is incredibly easy for bad nursing home conduct to slip by the State. In many instances, the State does not do an investigation at all. Often times, the State does their investigation years after the elderly person has already died. When the State issues a citation, the nursing home will usually appeal the citation or try to settle for less. Which then begs the question: does nursing home neglect and abuse ever really stop?
These two facilities have obtained a Class AA violation from the California Department of Public Health. These violations are the most severe and are issued when a resident’s death can be directly and officially attributed to the responsibility of the facility, and carries fines between $25,000 and $100,000.
The York Law Firm is experienced in prosecuting elder neglect cases involving the atrocities that many nursing homes commit on a regular basis when they fail to take proper care of our elderly residents. One of our specializations is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect. We have successfully applied Federal and State laws to protect those living in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities from being victims of neglect and abuse.
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