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Florida Nursing Home Negligence Results in State Fine

A Florida nursing home facility has been fined $12,500 and ordered to pay a $6,000 survey fee for future monitoring activity, following its negligence in handling a resident’s death recently.

Our Pompano Beach nursing home abuse lawyers understand that the home, in Bradenton, was found by state authorities to have committed a series of errors following the patient’s death in December.

As such, in addition to the fines, the facility has been placed on something called a conditional licensure status, for a short time. This means that the facility failed to meet minimum care standards at the time of inspection or failed to correct certain problems upon follow-up. However, this conditional status was lifted after a little more than a week.

A facility spokesman contends the incident is an isolated one in which a single nurse failed to follow company procedures.

The incident occurred around 3:30 a.m. on early December morning. A nursing assistant at the facility was making normal rounds when she observed a 58-year-old female resident whose leg was hanging off the edge of the bed. Upon further inspection, she learned that the woman did not appear to be breathing.

The patient had been in the facility for only a short period of time, after being transferred there from a hospital where she was receiving treatment for cancer and depression.

The nursing assistant immediately alerted the other staff, and four nurses responded. Those nurses said that when arrived, they found that the woman had no vitals. She wasn’t breathing and she was declared dead.

The problem was that at no time did any staff even attempt to perform CPR or make any effort to revive her. This was despite the fact that her file indicated that she was classified as “full code.” This means that the patient and/or guardian has indicated that in the event of an emergency, they wish to have resuscitation efforts initiated.

When a family member later learned that the staff had done nothing to try and save this woman’s life, he filed a complaint.

As it turned out, there was confusion about whether this woman was “full code” or in fact “do not resuscitate,” which means just that. Per the facility’s policy, patients who are classified as “do not resuscitate” are outfitted with a bright-colored bracelet, making it easier for staff to immediately identify the best course of action.

This woman wasn’t wearing one of those bracelets, so it would seem the course of action would have been fairly straightforward. However, one of the nurses in her written statement regarding the incident noted that she believed the woman was classified as “do not resuscitate,” and that the lack of a bracelet wasn’t necessarily an indicator to the contrary because many times, the facility took several days to put them on new patients.

Computer notes reveal that the staff contacted 911, notified the agency’s risk director, as well as the director of nursing, the woman’s family and her doctor. The woman’s doctor reportedly gave the Ok to remove her body from the facility. Police were not contacted until the following day and paramedics did not respond to the scene at the time the woman was found.

An examination of the body was conducted at the funeral home by police investigators, who reportedly identified no apparent signs of neglect, abuse or foul play.

The agency then launched an internal investigation to find out why no one had initiated CPR on the patient. As a result of that investigation, six staff members were suspended. That internal investigation reportedly found that the incident was in fact adverse and amounted to negligence on the part of the facility. As such, the facility initiated retraining of staff. Two employees were fired, while four remained on suspension for varying amounts of time.

The family has not indicated at this point whether they plan to file civil litigation in this matter.

Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Bradenton nursing home fined for mishandling resident’s death, May 16, 2013, By Jim De La, The Bradenton Herald

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Wellington Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers Warn of Adult Day Care Dangers, May 5, 2013, Pompano Beach Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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