We trust nursing homes to take good care of our aging relatives. Unfortunately,
medical errors are increasingly common at skilled nursing facilities.
Last month, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) fined Kindred
Transitional Care & Rehabilitation – Walnut Creek, a skilled
nursing facility in Contra Costa County, in connection with the death
of a patient.
Medical Errors in Nursing Homes
2014 study by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS) found that medical errors occur more frequently in skilled nursing
facilities than in hospitals. In fact, an alarming 22,000 patients were
injured and more than 1,500 died in a single month due to nursing home
Overall, the HHS study revealed that 1 in 3 patients in skilled nursing
facilities suffered a medication error, delay in treatment, misdiagnosis,
or some other type of harm. It further found that 22% of patients suffered
adverse events that caused lasting harm, and another 11% were temporarily
harmed. In 1.5% of cases, the patient died due to substandard care. Equally
alarming, a staggering 59% of the incidents were preventable.
California Nursing Home Fined $100K for Fatal Medical Error
The Contra Costa facility received a Class “AA” citation, the
most severe penalty under state law. It was also fined $100,000 for “deficiencies
that were determined to have been a direct proximate cause of death of
a patient or resident.”
According to the investigation by the CDPH, the
Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation-Walnut Creek failed to provide proper treatment for tracheostomy care. The facility
staff specifically failed to hyperextend the resident’s neck prior
to changing a tracheostomy tube, as required by the facility’s policies
and procedures. The staff also failed to use an oral bag mask when the
resident experienced respiratory difficulty after the new tube was inserted.
The facility did not have any emergency protocols for such an event. Although
the staff ultimately called 9-1-1, the patient died. An autopsy confirmed
that the improper placement of the tracheostomy tube perforated the trachea
and esophagus, resulting in acute respiratory failure.
If you or someone you love has fallen victim to nursing home negligence, contact a San Diego personal injury attorney
at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. We’re here to help.