A nursing home in Auburn, California, has been slapped with the most severe citation for negligence and inadequate care that apparently led to the death of a patient in 2007, according to the Sacramento Bee news report. Colonial Healthcare, which is owned by Rocklin-based Horizon West Healthcare, must pay a $100,000 fine for failing to properly care for an 83-year-old resident who fell and broke several ribs.
According to the California Department of Public Health, the man died after suffering “excruciating, unrelieved pain” for 21 hours and then being given an excessive dose of narcotic pain medication. This is apparently the third time the state agency has issued an AA citation against this particular facility since 2007.
My heart goes out to the family of this Auburn nursing home patient. Here is a family that entrusted their loved one to the care of a facility that they believed was professionally equipped to provide quality care. Such an incident is a definite breach of that family’s trust. There is no excuse for it. It is disturbing, appalling and despicable that a nursing home would neglect a vulnerable, elderly patient to this extent.
California nursing home negligence and abuse is increasingly becoming a problem in the United States. A lot of these cases of negligence have been attributed to understaffing and the lack of qualified, trained staff in these facilities. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in a 2000 report, found out that about 54 percent of the nation’s nursing homes were understaffed. The report also found that, at the time of the study, residents in 31 percent of the nation’s nursing homes were receiving care for only about 12 minutes a day from registered nurses.
In this particular case, there is no excuse for neglecting a frail, elderly patient who had suffered a fall. Apparently, the victim was in pain for 21 hours, but there was no one to attend to him. Finally, when they did get to him, they gave him a lethal dose of pain medication! I hope that this victim’s family is taking these nursing home owners to court to makes them pay for their negligence and callousness. The family of this victim would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced California nursing home negligence and abuse attorney, who will make sure that the family members secure the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve. With nursing home cases, it is never solely about the money. The primary goal in these cases is to right a wrong and to protect others from such neglect, abuse and serious wrongdoing.