Nursing Home Fined $100,000 by State After Resident's Death

A nursing home was fined the highest penalty under state law, $100,000, after a patient was dropped by  broken mechanical lift that had not been properly maintained. As a result of the fall, the patient injured her head and later died.

The patient, who had a heart condition, diabetes and a muscular disease, was confined to a wheelchair and needed help getting up and into bed, according to report by the Department of Public Health. Investigators determined that staff failed to maintain the lift used in the accident. As the patient was being transferred from her wheelchair to her bed, the lift sling holding the woman broke and she fell and hit her head on a nearby door, according to a nurse’s notes. The woman was sent to a nearby hospital, where she died four days later from bleeding in her brain, brain damage and a stroke.

The sling that broke was supposed to be checked monthly, but had not been checked in five years, according to the facility maintenance director. In a plan of correction submitted to the state, nursing home officials say they have required more frequent inspections of the lifts and trained staff to better inspect and operate them. Officials at the facility say they do not dispute the investigator’s findings, but are considering whether to appeal the fine. 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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