Recent E. Coli Outbreak Underscores Flaws In Food-Recall Process, Critics Say

A fatal outbreak of E. coli contamination that recently hospitalized at least 26 people in the U.S. and Canada—including two in Connecticut—shows that the federal government is failing to adequately protect people from consuming recalled foods, lawmakers and consumer advocates say. The outbreak that sickened the two Connecticut residents and 16 others nationally, including 1 person in California who died, was probably caused by eating “leafy greens,” but a specific leafy green couldn’t be identified, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. The Canadian government’s Public Health Agency announced on Dec. 11 that the outbreak was linked to romaine lettuce. Maura Downes, the communications director for the Connecticut Department of Public Health, confirmed that two state residents were sickened by the E. coli outbreak.

State Fines Six Nursing Homes

The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has fined six nursing homes for violations that resulted in injuries to residents. Cheshire Regional Rehabilitation Center was fined $3,000 after a resident, who required staff assistance to eat was left alone and choked on a roll. On the morning of Oct. 10, 2017, the resident, who had functional quadriplegia and difficulty swallowing, was found next to a dining room table that had a plate of rolls on it and was holding a roll. A licensed practical nurse took the roll away from the resident and left the room, but a surveyor subsequently saw the resident wheeze and cough out a piece of the roll, according to DPH.

Nursing Homes Fined After Lapses In Care

Seven Connecticut nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for violations that endangered or injured residents. Harbor Village North Health and Rehabilitation Center in New London was fined $3,000 for four violations. On Aug. 1, 2017, a resident with pulmonary heart disease was hospitalized with low blood pressure and incontinence after a registered nurse administered medication intended for another resident, according to DPH. On that same date, a second resident was mistakenly given long-acting insulin instead of fast-acting insulin by a licensed practical nurse (LPN).

Med Board Reprimands Waterbury Obstetrician, Disciplines Two Other Docs

The state Medical Examining Board disciplined three doctors this week, including reprimanding a Waterbury obstetrician for failing to perform a timely Caesarean section in a case in which the infant died. Dr. John Kaczmarek also failed to assess the infant’s category III fetal heart monitors results on Aug. 10, 2014 at Waterbury Hospital, a consent order he signed with the board states. Category III results are considered abnormal and may indicate that the fetus is at risk of being deprived of oxygen. Kaczmarek also did not appropriately document his evaluation of the monitor results or his plan of care, the order said. The consent order does not detail what happened to the baby, but Christopher Stan, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Health (DPH), said Thursday that despite resuscitation efforts and a transfer to Yale New Haven Hospital, the baby died a day after delivery.

15 Hospitals Penalized For High Infection Rates, Injuries

About half of Connecticut hospitals—15 out of 31—will lose part of their Medicare payments in 2018 as a penalty for having relatively high rates of patients who acquired preventable injuries and infections while hospitalized. The hospitals are among 751 nationwide that will lose 1 percent of their Medicare reimbursements in this fiscal year. The penalties are part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, which is part of the Affordable Care Act. The program penalizes hospitals with the highest rates of patients who got infections from hysterectomies, colon surgeries, urinary tract catheters and central line tubes. It also tallies those who suffered from blood clots, bed sores or falls while hospitalized.

Care For Dialysis Patients Improves, Medicare Ratings Show

Dialysis centers in Connecticut continue to improve their overall quality of care, with 12 facilities reaching Medicare’s highest patient-care rating and just one scoring on the low end of the scale, the latest data show. That’s an improvement from the 2014 data, when six dialysis centers in the state scored low in quality-of-care ratings. Dialysis helps those with kidney failure remove waste from the body, regulate chemicals and control blood pressure. Most often, patients have their blood removed and cleaned in a machine called a dialyzer before it’s returned to the body. Another form of dialysis uses a cleaning fluid and the stomach as a filter.

State Disciplines Two Nurses

The state Board of Examiners for Nursing Wednesday disciplined two nurses, including a registered nurse from Branford who stole an opioid painkiller for her own use. The RN, Alice J. Miller, admitted that on Nov. 24, 2016, she took the oxycodone, a consent order she signed with the board said. The same month, she also used alcohol or controlled substances to excess, the order said. Her license was temporarily suspended, and Wednesday, the board continued the suspension for six months, followed by a four-year probation during which Miller must pass drug tests and attend therapy and support group sessions, the order said.

Med Board Drops Charges Against Fairfield Doc, Disciplines Two Others

The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday dropped all charges against a former Fairfield doctor who illegally prescribed oxycodone because the doctor has voluntarily surrendered his medical license. Paul Bellofiore, 57, of Trumbull, gave up his license in October, state Department of Public Health records show. Bellofiore, who had practiced in Fairfield, also agreed not to contest the allegations against him if he ever seeks to have his license reinstated. In February, Bellofiore was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Hartford to two years of probation for illegally prescribing the painkiller. Judge Alvin W. Thompson also ordered him to perform 200 hours of community service and prohibited Bellofiore from writing prescriptions for controlled substances until Oct.

Three Nursing Homes Fined Following Lapses In Care

The state Department of Public Health (DPH) has fined three Connecticut nursing homes for violations that injured residents or jeopardized their safety. Autumn Lake Healthcare at New Britain was fined $3,000 after staff incorrectly used a ventilator machine on a resident. On Feb. 2, 2017, a resident with chronic respiratory failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease complained of shortness of breath and was put on a trilogy machine, a type of non-invasive ventilator, after other interventions failed to help, according to DPH. The resident was placed on the machine but continued to complain of shortness of breath and subsequently was taken to a hospital for observation and returned to the facility the next day, according to the citation.