Nursing Home Found Negligent In Connection With Resident Death

A nursing home has been blamed for its staff failing to act in a timely manner to save the life of a resident whose physical condition was declining which lead of cardiac arrest and death, according to a report released Thursday.

The state Health Department investigated and determined  the the nursing home was negligent in connection with the death on November 1. Specifically, the investigation found, the home failed to have a processes in place for monitoring and reacting to significant changes in a resident’s condition.

According to the report, On October 31 the resident coughed and gasped while eating dinner. A nurse sent a fax to a doctor saying that the woman was having breathing problems. There was no evidence that the doctor responded to the fax or that staff followed up with the doctor that day.

The next day, the resident’s breathing problems continued. A nurse put her on oxygen  that evening and gave her a drug to ease her discomfort. Additional faxes were sent to the doctor starting at 4:15 p.m. and marked “urgent.” The doctor responded at 5 p.m. after the third one.

At 5:15 p.m., a nurse called for an ambulance but did not say it was an emergency situation. At 6:25 p.m., a second call was made for the ambulance by the same nurse, again without mentioning the situation’s urgency. By the time ambulance arrived at 6:30 p.m., the woman was in cardiac arrest. She died 26 minutes later. Her attending physician listed cardio-respiratory failure on her death certificate. The physician said in an interview with the state that staff should have been quicker in notifying a doctor and in obtaining emergency medical assistance. 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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