Nursing Home Resident Dead After Nurses Neglected to Provide Life Saving Treatment

A nursing home has been fined $8,000 after a woman died in front of family members because she couldn’t breathe. The 64-year-old patient was under a physician’s order to periodically have her airway suctioned due to the phlegm that collected in her throat. She passed away in June of suffocation because her throat was not cleared by facility staff.

One of the woman's daughters, who worked in the facility's laundry room, heard her mother yelling her name when she arrived at the facility for work around 7:30 a.m. When the daughter entered the room, her mother was in respiratory distress, trying to clear her throat. She summoned a licensed practical nurse who allegedly came to the room, said she had other residents to tend to, then left.

Subsequently, a registered nurse and two CNA's were also notified of the resident's condition.  The registered nurse after first ignoring the family members, went to the residents room to preform the needed suctioning. After arriving at the room, the nurse had to leave twice for parts for the suctioning unit. The family urged the nurse to hurry as the resident was losing color and making a gurgling noise. While the nurse assembled the machine, the resident lost consciousness. 

The assistant director of nursing came to the resident’s room, placed a stethoscope on her chest while the registered nurse attempted suctioning. “Is that it?” the woman's daughter asked. “Yeah, that’s it,” the assistant director of nursing replied. The resident was pronounced dead at 8:20 a.m.

Two weeks before the incident, state inspectors visited the home and issued a 106-page report detailing dozens of care violations. The home was fined $7,000 after the inspection. The owners of the facility have declined to comment on the incident except to say that they will 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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