The California Department of Public Health has ordered two Orange County assisted living facilities to pay fines over patient deaths involving "inadequate nursing care." Newport Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is to pay $100,000 over a fatal fall accident that took place in a bathroom, while Emeritus at Yorba Linda has to pay $90,000 following a deadly choking accident. There may be a possibility that the families of both residents may be entitled to Orange County, California nursing home neglect and abuse, as well as wrongful death damages.
At the Newport Beach nursing home, a female patient who needed assistance to use the toilet was left unsupervised. She was found facedown and without a pulse in the bathroom. The coroner determined her cause of death as spinal fracture caused by a fall. Since the Orange County, California fall accident, Newport Nursing says staff has received more training.
At the Yorba Linda nursing home, a female patient died after a nursing assistant forgot to give the resident her dentures so she could eat lunch. The patient, who had problems swallowing and chewing, was supposed to be given chopped meat. The woman was taken to the hospital after she was found blue in front of a ham sandwich that was partially eaten.
At the hospital, a large piece of meat was removed from her throat. Less than a week later, she died from respiratory and cardiac arrest related to choking.Emeritus said nurses now have to verify that each patient is being given the proper meal.
Falls and choking accidents are not uncommon at assisted living facilities. Many nursing home patients have injuries, illnesses, or other conditions that make them a known fall accident risk and it is the responsibility of staff to enact a care plan that minimizes the chances of any type of fall. This includes assisting residents who cannot walk or stand without supervision, providing wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches, helping transfer patients to and from beds, installing handrails along walls, and other measures. Proper supervision is essential.
As for choking accidents, some patients cannot chew or swallow without help. It is essential that they be given foods that they can eat, which may include food items that are liquefied or chopped up into small enough pieces so that a patient doesn't choke and die from a meal.
Orange County, California nursing homes know that such preventive measures need to be in place so there is no reason why a patient should die because the appropriate steps weren't taken.
"It is unacceptable for a nursing home resident to die because nursing home staff failed to give them the care that they needed," said Howard Law, PC partner and Newport Beach nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer Vincent Howard. "Patients are at assisted living facilities to get the care that they need, not to fall victim to an accident caused by negligence."
2 O.C. nursing homes fined in patient deaths, OC Register, December 20, 2011
More Blog Posts:
California Nursing Home Fall Leads to $75K Fine by State, California Injury Lawyers, October 31, 2011
$1.3M Los Angeles County Nursing Home Abuse Judgment Awarded to Elderly Patient Injured in Fall Accidents, California Injury Lawyers, September 27, 2011
Los Angeles County, California Nursing Home Death Leads to $75,000 Fine, California Injury Lawyers, August 31, 2011
You can also read more about Orange County, California nursing home abuse and neglect on Howard Law PC's California Injury Lawyers.