Nursing Home Fined More Than $100,000 For Dehydration Death

In two separate incidences, The California Department of public Health has fined a nursing home a total of $120,000, the maximum allowable amount, for deficient patient care. In one of the cases, the inadequacies in patient care were a "direct proximate cause of death" for an 82 year old woman on Christmas day, 2008. In the other case, the circumstances were similar, but the patient was rushed to the emergency room and did not die.

In both of the cases for which the facility was fined, the patients suffered severe dehydration which resulted in emergency room hospitalizations. The state cited the facility for failing to document proper monitoring of the patients' fluid intake and output, among other deficiencies. Both patients were not receiving adequate fluids and became dehydrated which led to other complications, and in one case, death.

In the case of the woman who died as a result of the inadequate care, the state's findings reported "The facility failed to ensure Patient A, who had a history of dehydration did not become dehydrated by failing to: 1. Assess Patient A's fluid needs, 2. Consistently assessing the urine in Patient A's urinary drainage bags, 3. Notify the physician regarding Patient A's low fluid intake, Patient A's urine being dark amber in color on 12/12/08, and Patient A being difficult to wake up the day prior to transfer to the acute hospital, 4. Evaluate Patient A's intake and output at least weekly. These violations presented either imminent danger that death or serious harm or substantial probability that death or serious physical harm to the patient would result there from and were a direct proximate cause of Patient A's 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.