Nursing Homes Fined For Choking Death, Weight Loss

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Four nursing homes have been fined for lapses in patient care by the state Department of Public Health. One case involved a choking death, while another involved a resident’s drastic weight loss.

The Torrington Health & Rehabilitation Center was fined $510 after a resident died while attempting to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  The patient had been admitted to the center in September 2011 with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and schizoaffective disorder.  In November 2011, a doctor ordered that the resident be placed on a “soft’’ diet, due to his or her decreased ability to chew and refusal to wear dentures.

In January and February, the resident’s care sheet noted that the patient was dependent on staff for eating.  But on Feb. 2, staff left the resident with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Minutes later, the resident was found unresponsive.  CPR was administered, and the resident was transported to the emergency department, but could not be revived.  The cause of death was cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest and choking, according to the citation.  The citation noted that the facility’s dietician said that a peanut butter sandwich “was appropriate’’ for a resident on a soft diet.

In Fairfield, the Ludlow Center For Health & Rehabilitation was fined $580 after a resident, suffering from dementia and depression, was hospitalized after losing 43 pounds in 46 days. The patient was diagnosed with an altered mental status, sepsis, respiratory distress and an elevated heart rate.  The DPH citation notes that the facility failed to intervene to prevent weight loss or to keep an accurate record of the patient’s weekly intake and outtake of fluids.

Also cited recently were:

• The Whitney Manor Convalescent Center, Inc., of Hamden, for improperly moving a resident who suffered from vascular disease, dementia and hypertension.  The resident fell out of a Hoyer lift onto the floor and suffered a fracture to the cheekbone, according to the February citation. The facility was fined $580.

• The Reservoir Care and Rehabilitation Center, of West Hartford, for care lapses in a case in which a resident with dementia, who had a history of falls, fell on a bathroom floor and sustained a head injury and hip fracture.  A clip alarm, assigned to the patient to alert staff for assistance, was found on the bedside table at the time of the fall.  The patient removed the alarm, but the facility was fined $510 for failing to ensure that measures were put in place to prevent an accident.

One thought on “Nursing Homes Fined For Choking Death, Weight Loss

  1. If you look at the 2011 first quarter regulatory action report available online, you will find that the Department of Health fined a cosmetician $1800. for cutting hair without a license.  Connecticut law also provides steep fines for animal abuse and neglect with 1000. for neglect of the health needs or nutrition of a horse or a dog.  There is something seriously wrong here.