The California Department of Public Health has fined a care facility for nursing home neglect. According to an Associated Press news report, a 78-year-old man died at the Orchard-Post Acute Care facility in Whittier after staff members incorrectly inserted a gastrostomy tube into him. The tube apparently did not go all the way to his stomach, stopping instead at the peritoneal cavity. This mistake led to food and medication failing to enter his stomach. He suffered inflammation, respiratory failure and septic shock. He passed away six days after the procedure. The care facility has been fined $75,000 by the California Department of Public Health for the fatal incident.
My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased victim. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.
Nursing Homes’ Duty of Care
Growing instances of nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse are unfortunately part of today’s realities. With the proliferation of nursing homes and the increase in the number of patients getting admitted into these facilities, there is a growing concern about the quality of care provided by these facilities. All nursing homes are legally obligated to provide a reasonable level of care to their residents. This obligation includes, but is not limited to providing adequate nutrition, necessary attention, supervision, proper medical care, and clean facilities.
Care facilities that provide medical procedures must make sure that they properly diagnose and treat their residents. If the patient has a care plan from his or her healthcare provider, that plan must be adhered to at all times. For example, if the patient’s doctor has instructed that he or she should only eat semi-solid or liquid food, then, the facility should take every precaution to make sure that the patient is not given solid food or food that is difficult to chew or swallow.
In this particular case, the California Department of Public Health has made it clear that the nursing home’s staff made a fatal error. However, it is not clear how or why the mistake occurred. Was the procedure being performed by qualified or experienced staff? Was the person performing the procedure supervised? Did understaffing at the nursing home cause or contribute to this incident?
If it is determined that the nursing home’s negligence caused the incident, then, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility. Families of deceased victims would be well-advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who will ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.