Elderly Dementia Patient Dies After Drinking Poisonous Detergent Found at Facility

An assisted living facility in could face a $10,000 state fine after a resident's unfortunate death from swallowing dishwasher detergent. The 93-year-old resident, in the late stages of Alzheimer's disease, drank the sodium hydroxide solution after he got into a kitchen at the facility, according to the State Agency for Health Care Administration records. An AHCA inspector had warned the care center a year prior it needed to secure areas in its dementia unit — including kitchens — to prevent residents from having unsupervised access, state records show.

On the morning of December 28, 2009 the resident slipped into the kitchen while the two staff on his unit were taking care of other residents. A staff member found the resident in the kitchen standing over the dish detergent container. The resident had removed the container which was attached to a dishwasher by disconnecting the hose. Paramedics were called but the poison had already shut down the man's system. The agency has filed a complaint against the facility, asking for a judge to levy a $10,000 fine against the 94-bed facility.

A spokeswoman for the parent company said there was no way staff could have predicted the events that led to the December poisoning death. The company, which operates mare than 70 senior living facilities, is fighting the AHCA complaint filed last month.  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.

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