Man Dies of Pnuemonia after Nurses Failed to Notify Physician of Decline in Health

A nursing home resident died of pneumonia days after nurses failed to properly respond to the man's chest tightness and other warning signs, according to a state investigation released Thursday. The facility was cited by the Health Department in its report for failing to have "an adequate system in place whereby nurses notified the physician of the resident's deteriorating health status."

According to the state investigation report, on March 3, a nurse made note that the resident complained of his chest being tight, along with "slight crackles" in his cough. The next day, the man went to a previously scheduled appointment with his physician, who detected the resident's shortness of breath. The man was taken to an emergency room, then admitted to a hospital. The doctor told investigators that the resident's 80 percent oxygen saturation level a day earlier should have prompted a nurse to call a doctor. The man died March 8 as a result of pneumonia.

The state report concluded that one nurse failed to notify a doctor of the resident's "crackles in his lungs," a second nurse failed to act on that first nurse's concerns and a third nurse failed to alert a doctor about the "significant drop" in the resident's oxygen saturation level. For more, read the story.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.