Nursing Home Administrator and Registered Nurse Charged with Neglect of Resident

Prosecutors have charged a 56-year-old nurse in connection with her alleged failure to act after examining an elderly woman with deep bedsores (also know as pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers) who subsequently died.

In court documents, investigators from the Sheriff's Office claimed that the registered nurse and “self-described instructor on care giving of vulnerable adults,” was supposed to examine residents and train staff at the care facility where she was employed. The nurse was charging the woman's family and medicare for specialized services that were never provided to the resident. Prosecutors also contend there is no evidence that the nurse provided any training to the nursing assistant hired to care for the resident. Instead, the assistant was working before even having a completed background check.

On Dec. 27, 2009, the woman arrived was hospitalized due to deep, infected bedsores. Hospital staff located 10 bedsores and also found she was suffering from dehydration. She was drowsy and incoherent, and had blood poisoning due to the infected sores. The woman died on January 12, 2010.

Department of Social and Health Services investigators began looking into the case after the woman's death and found that her care plan had not been updated to reflect her deteriorating condition and increasing care needs. A nurse caring for another resident at the facility recalled "an awful smell" coming from the woman's room. This nurse examined the wounds. She told investigators that she nearly passed out from the smell upon examination. This nurse pressed the nursing home administrator to send the woman to the hospital.

The administrator of the care home has been charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment, a felony. The registered nurse has been charged with second-degree criminal mistreatment. 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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