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Bay Area Nursing Home Fined in Patient Deaths

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The California Department of Public Health has fined three Bay Area nursing homes a total of $200,000 for incidents of neglect that reportedly led to the deaths three residents. According to a news report in the San Jose Mercury News, the facility, formerly known as Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation-Bay View in Alameda, was fined $75,000. O’Connor Hospital’s skilled nursing facility in San Jose was slapped with a $65,000 while St. John Kronstadt Convalescent Center in Castro Valley was fined $60,000. These are all Class AA citations, which the health department reserves for the most severe violations under the law.

Fatal Violations

The report states that the Alameda facility, staff members in 2010 found a 74-year-old patient with an arm bandage soaked in blood. A registered nurse failed to identify the source of the bleeding and did not do anything to stop it as a result of which the man bled to death. At O’Connor’s skilled nursing facility, a respiratory therapist told investigators he had placed a patient’s ventilator on standby while cleaning a surgical opening on the patient’s neck. But, apparently, he failed to turn it back on after completing the cleaning as the result of which the patient died. O’Connor is appealing the citation.

In the third incident, a resident who was under doctor’s orders to eat only chopped or ground food, choked on a hot dog that was given to him by nursing home staff during an outing to a ball game. Although an administrator told investigators that residents’ medical information accompanies them on field trips, staff members said they were not aware of the patient’s diet restrictions.

Rights of Victims and Families

Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide a reasonable level of care to their residents. This means that they should hire and train quality staff members and maintain a patient to staff ratio that ensures that all residents receive the care and attention they rightfully deserve. When nursing homes understaff their facilities or overwork employees to bulk up profits, the patients and their families suffer. Victims’ families in such cases can file a wrongful death claim against the facilities seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs and lost future income. An experienced California nursing home abuse lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.

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