A Marysville, CA nursing home is facing a $100,000 fine from the State Department of Health and Human Services after an 84-year-old resident was found dead in May 2007, her head stuck between her bed and a bed rail. According to an article in the Appeal-Democrat newspaper, Dorothy Rothacher reportedly died after the nursing home failed to lower bed rails or use an alarm that would have alerted nurses that the patient was getting up from her bed.
The nursing home owners, who also own Yuba City Care Center in the same city, has remained quiet about this incident. This apparently wasn’t the first time the state received complaints about this particular nursing home. Last year 17 complaints were received and state inspectors found 36 deficiencies there, the article reported. The most recent citation, an AA citation, is usually given for the most serious violations.
Rothacher had been a two-year resident at the nursing home and was suffering from osteoarthritis, psychosis as well as Alzheimer’s disease. The article also points out that nurses had given conflicting statements during the investigation about whether Rothacher got out of bed or whether a bed alarm was used. According to the coroner’s report, the cause of death was “asphyxiation due to a compressed and fractured larynx.” The nursing home also did not keep up with the patient’s care plan, which called for a bed alarm and rails positioned on the top half of the bed, allowing her to get out of the lower half.
This is another example of nursing home negligence. As personal injury attorneys who represent clients in nursing home abuse and negligence cases, we have seen cases such as this where nursing home staff do not follow the care plans prescribed for certain patients with very special needs. In some cases, staff members are just not well trained to carry out their duties in a professional manner. Many nursing homes also deliberately keep their facilities understaffed to boost profits.
Nursing home abuse and negligence is increasing at an alarming rate and that is no coincidence. With an increasing number of baby boomers entering nursing homes and with millions more on the way, state health departments need to crack down more vigorously on violations and increase citation amounts. Nursing home abuse lawsuits we file on behalf of clients also serve a similar purpose in that they make these violating companies pay for their wrongdoing.
Families pay thousands each month to care for their loved one and they deserve better. The emotional trauma and feelings of guilt and remorse a son or daughter undergoes after their parent’s nursing home death is hard to relate to unless, God forbid, we are in such a situation. We take it on ourselves to go after these negligent nursing homes. Our goal is to hit them where it hurts the most – their pocket book. Such legal actions, we hope will act as a strong deterrent to companies that put profits ahead of people and shortchange consumers.