A 78-year-old woman died last year because a nursing home failed
to properly monitor her medication and failed to check her into an
emergency room fast enough when her brain started bleeding, according
to state regulators.
The state Health and Human Services
Agency fined the nursing home $100,000 after an investigation into
a report that the nursing home ignored the
worsening condition of a patient admitted a year ago with a hip
fracture, heart problems, osteoporosis, hypertension and osteoarthritis.
State investigators concluded that nursing home caregivers “failed
to ensure that the resident’s medications were monitored and failed to
fully assess the resident or promptly notify the physician when there
was a change in the resident’s condition, which resulted in the
resident’s death,” according to a spokesman for the state
The fine levied on the nursing home is the maximum
penalty the agency can impose for a “AA” citation, the harshest
assessment for hospitals and nursing homes in that state.
to the state, caregivers failed to keep a close eye on the condition of
the patient — whose identity was withheld in the report — after a
doctor ordered an increase in medication to prevent blood clots. A
possible side effect of the medication is excessive bleeding, according
to the regulatory agency.
Because the nursing home staff
didn’t monitor a change in the woman’s condition after the doctor upped
her anticoagulant prescription, the state said they missed warning
signs that could have saved the woman’s life.
On Sept. 14 last
year, days after the doctor-ordered increase in her blood-thinning
medication, the woman started slurring her words and complaining of a
headache, according to relatives who visited her that morning.
did not seem right with her,” the woman’s daughter told the state
agency, according to the report accompanying the citation. The woman’s
husband said the patient couldn’t talk “because she had a bad headache
… and was repeating, ‘my head, my head.’”
Even though the woman
woke up just a couple hours earlier, she started nodding off, waking up
only to vomit. Her husband complained that the nursing home employees
didn’t treat the situation as an emergency. He “felt like the staff was
not taking her condition as seriously as he knew they needed to,”
according to the citation.
The woman died that day in the
emergency room. The patient’s death certificate
cites “….inappropriate bleeding or clotting secondary to medication”
with hypertension and bleeding in her brain as her cause of death. 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 Fri, August 28, 2009
by Robert Carter