A nursing home has been fined $100,000 after state officials concluded that poor care led to the injury and death of an elderly resident who fell and injured his head.
The penalty is the state’s most severe, officials said.
The case involved an 83-year-old man, who on the morning of Jan. 4,
2007, lost his balance and struck his head on a bed rail when he was
being moved from his bed to a wheelchair. The man had a short-term
memory problem and had impaired cognitive skills, and relied on nursing
staff for dressing; state officials said the facility failed to provide
adequate support for the resident as he was transferred to his
At 8:30 a.m., about half an hour after the blow to the head, nurses'
notes documented the man had a bluish discoloration on the left side of
his head. Staff monitored the patient’s condition as the attending
physician was paged at 8:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., but the doctor did not
return the call.
His condition continued to deteriorate throughout the day; he
refused lunch and dinner and complained of not feeling well. At 8:30
p.m., he was observed as lethargic. Finally, at an unspecified time, an
attending physician was reached, and the patient was transferred to a
hospital at 9:30 p.m.—more than 13 hours after he had struck his head.
The patient had suffered bleeding in the brain and died five days
Investigators said the licensed nurses should have called either an
alternate physician or the medical director when the attending
physician did not respond to pages, or call 911 in an emergency.
“Failure of the facility staff to immediately notify the physician
and to provide the necessary care and services to Resident 1 [the
patient] ... presented a substantial probability that serious harm
would result, and did result to Resident 1 [the patient’s] death,” the
report said. 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.
Posted on Thu, June 25, 2009
by Robert Carter