Pressure Ulcers (Bed Sores), Dehydration Plague Ruxton Nursing Home in Williamsburg, Virginia

Since January 2006, 28 complaints have been filed against Ruxton Health of Williamsburg, according to a recent article that summarized the results of complaint investigation reports prepared by the state agency that licenses and inspects nursing homes in Virginia.  Those complaints included 22 allegations in which the facility was cited for providing deficient care, including patients who were not being fed by staff regularly, patients left lying in their own urine, medications that were not administered on time, pressure ulcers (bed sores, pressure sores, decubitus ulcers), cold food, failure to notify authorities about a possible sexual assault, and allowing a patient to leave without the facility's knowledge and wander away (elope).

In one case that resulted in a complaint report, a diabetic patient experienced a change in her medical condition.  The patient's family told Ruxton's staff about the change in her condition, but nothing was done by the nursing home until 10 days later when until the family member visited the facility again to find the patient "extremely ill looking, shaking, had breathing problems, purple feet, mouth was black with sores, reddened face, screaming for help, holding her stomach and soaked with urine."  Staff reassured the family member that the patient was not in danger, but her family insisted she be taken to the emergency room.  She was admitted to the intensive care unit and died two days later.  The hospital informed the family member that the patient died from complications of dehydration and had a blood sugar of 555 when she was hospitalized.  Normal blood sugar levels are in the range of 70 to 100 or so.  The state health department cited the nursing home for not keeping the patient properly hydrated, poor quality of care, and failing to provide proper notification when there was a significant change in the patient's condition.

In another case, a patient with a feeding tube was hospitalized with dehydration.  According to the nursing home's own records, the man may not have been provided as many as 75 tube feedings in a mere three months. The patient was discharged from the Ruxton facility to a hospice home and died shortly thereafter.  The health department's report concluded the lack of proper tube feeding decreased "the level of fluids the resident may have received and could have resulted in his dehydration." 

The nursing home also became the focus of a police investigation in March 2008 involving the care provided to 84-year-old Lorina Wiggins, who died after being taken to a local hospital two months ago with multiple, infected pressure ulcers (bed sores, pressure sores, decubitus ulcers) on her body.

An October 2006 inspection report for Medicare/Medicaid certification revealed 26 health deficiencies, including problems treating pressure ulcers (bd sores, pressure sores, decubitus ulcers) and problems helping patient with eating, drinking, grooming and hygiene.  A January 2008 inspection revealed 13 deficiencies, including problems with infections control and failure to investigate injuries to patients.
Ruxton had three times the state and national average for deficiencies.  Read more about problems at Ruxton of Williamsburg.

This article reminds me of another article I profiled on February 15, 2008 on this web site.  That article revealed that Ruxton Health in Woodbridge was one of three Virginia nursing homes that were ranked among the 131 worst nursing homes in the country.  Based on these articles, Ruxton's problems aren't confined to its Williamsburg facility, but are systemic.  Patients and families, please exercise extreme caution!
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.