Nursing Home Fined After Resident's Death from Poisoning

An assisted living facility has accepted a $7,500 fine from the state after a 93-year-old Alzheimer's suffering resident died from drinking dishwasher detergent. The facility neither admitted nor denied any responsibility in connection with the man's death.. The deal reached with the state reduced their fine from the original amount of $10,000.

The facility has been fined three times in the past two years. In February 2009 at least 10 residents became sick with norovirus and the facility was fined $3,500. In April 2009, an inspection led to a $1,500 in connection with the treatment of a resident's bed sores.

The most recent incident when the man was poisoned occurred in one of the facility's kitchens. The man was found standing over the dishwasher. When an employee asked the man if he had drunk any of the detergent the man did not replied. He died 18 hours later at the hospital. State documents indicate the state health care agency warned the facility in March 2008 that its kitchen areas and other sections of the dementia unit were not properly secured. Residents had access to a hot coffee pot and chemical products, according to state records. A follow-up inspection a month later found those areas were no longer accessible to residents, state documents show.

The facility re-implemented guidelines companywide regarding caging and double-locking any chemicals and cleaning fluid. In the poisoning incident, the man had to unhook hoses that were connected directly to the dishwasher in order to drink the chemicals. The state Department of Children & Families investigated the man's death and determined it was an accident with no intentional abuse or neglect involved. 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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