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Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawsuit Alleges Failure to Act Quickly

A recently-filed wrongful death lawsuit alleges nursing home staff failed to act in an expedient manner to save the life of an elderly resident who was in critical condition.

Panzier v. VIP Manor LLC stems from the staff’s reaction to finding the woman unresponsive, gurgling and with an oxygen saturation rate of just 80 percent. Rather than emergency transfer to the hospital, the staffers waited nearly a half hour before contacting an ambulance. Even then, they did not indicate it was an emergency. By the time paramedics arrived, she was blue, had clumps of food in her mouth, had extremely low blood pressure and was not responsive.

Despite receiving CPR, she died at the hospital.

Hollywood nursing home abuse lawyers have seen numerous cases wherein victims suffered because staff either was not properly trained to respond to a medical emergency or failed to follow the facility’s protocol.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that these type of situations happen as often as they do, considering the 2013 Inspector General’s report, “Skilled Nursing Facilities Often Fail to Meet Planning and Discharge Planning Requirements.” The inspector found 37 percent of the time, skilled nursing facilities failed to develop care plans that met federal requirements or didn’t provide services that adhered to those plans. The agency further noted that Medicare paid about $5.1 billion for stays in 2009 that did not meet the quality-of-care requirements.

In this case, it’s unclear whether the doctor immediately ordered an emergency transfer of the patient. He claims he did. The lawsuit alleges otherwise. In either case, the woman was found at 11:45 a.m., but the staff did not contact an ambulance crew until sometime around 12:15 p.m.

The call did not come in as an emergency call, simply a transport. That meant the ambulance crew did not rush. They arrived at the center at 12:34 p.m. and didn’t reach her bedside until 12:38 p.m. The lawsuit alleges that between 11:45 a.m. and 12:38 p.m., no nursing home staffers checked on the patient.

The emergency services workers immediately began performing CPR on the woman, but she did not survive the day.

According to the filing:
–The nursing home was not staffed adequately;
–It did not have the correct policies in place;
–Staffers failed to appropriately assess the patient;
–Staffers failed to immediately contact an ambulance.

The lawsuit further alleges that the owner of the facility allocated an excessive amount of funding to himself, the shareholders, the officers, employees and/or controlling members, which resulted in draining the facility of funds necessary to maintain a staff that was both sufficient in numbers and appropriately-trained.

The suit, which seeks $50,000 in damages on each count, comes after an investigation by the state department of public health, which concluded the facility failed to monitor and treat a patient in respiratory failure and didn’t immediately call for help as ordered by a doctor. The report went on to say that the director and assistant of the facility told investigators there was no existing policy there that defined a “medical emergency.”

For these failures, the agency was fined a total of $50,000 by the state and ordered to develop a medical emergency policy.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
PANZIER PATRICIA vs. SA-ENC VIP MANOR LLC DBA VIP M, Filed May, 2014, Madison County Circuit Court

Wood River nursing home blamed for resident’s death, May 5, 2014, Staff Report, The Madison-St. Clair Record

More Blog Entries:
Alzheimer Patients Especially Vulnerable to Nursing Home Abuse, Neglect, April 15, 2014, Hollywood Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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