Nursing Home Fined $100,000 For Failure To Monitor Resident's Medications; Resident Bled To Death

A 78-year-old woman died last year because a nursing home failed to properly monitor her medication and failed to check her into an emergency room fast enough when her brain started bleeding, according to state regulators.

The state Health and Human Services Agency fined the nursing home $100,000 after an investigation into a report that the nursing home ignored the worsening condition of a patient admitted a year ago with a hip fracture, heart problems, osteoporosis, hypertension and osteoarthritis.

State investigators concluded that nursing home caregivers “failed to ensure that the resident’s medications were monitored and failed to fully assess the resident or promptly notify the physician when there was a change in the resident’s condition, which resulted in the resident’s death,” according to a spokesman for the state agency.

The fine levied on the nursing home is the maximum penalty the agency can impose for a “AA” citation, the harshest assessment for hospitals and nursing homes in that state.

According to the state, caregivers failed to keep a close eye on the condition of the patient — whose identity was withheld in the report — after a doctor ordered an increase in medication to prevent blood clots. A possible side effect of the medication is excessive bleeding, according to the regulatory agency.

Because the nursing home staff didn’t monitor a change in the woman’s condition after the doctor upped her anticoagulant prescription, the state said they missed warning signs that could have saved the woman’s life.

On Sept. 14 last year, days after the doctor-ordered increase in her blood-thinning medication, the woman started slurring her words and complaining of a headache, according to relatives who visited her that morning.

“Things did not seem right with her,” the woman’s daughter told the state agency, according to the report accompanying the citation. The woman’s husband said the patient couldn’t talk “because she had a bad headache … and was repeating, ‘my head, my head.’”

Even though the woman woke up just a couple hours earlier, she started nodding off, waking up only to vomit. Her husband complained that the nursing home employees didn’t treat the situation as an emergency. He “felt like the staff was not taking her condition as seriously as he knew they needed to,” according to the citation.

The woman died that day in the emergency room. The patient’s death certificate cites “….inappropriate bleeding or clotting secondary to medication” with hypertension and bleeding in her brain as her cause of death. For more, read the story.

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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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