CMS Fines Worcester Nursing Home $140K After Resident Dies Following Fall and Head Injury

When you entrust a loved one to a nursing home, you are entrusting them with one of the most important parts of your life. Sometimes, accidents are inevitable, even when proper care is provided. Other times, though, injuries happen (or are made worse) because nursing home staff don’t provide proper care, including sometimes not even following the facility’s own protocols. When that happens, you may be entitled to sue and obtain an award of compensation. Proof of things like a past history of similar problems or citations and fines following federal agencies’ investigations may help to strengthen your case further. Talk to an experienced Massachusetts nursing home negligence attorney about your situation and your options.

One recent case involved an accident with a tragic end. Walter was a highly accomplished accountant with many achievements, including helping to found a nursing home in Worcester. In 2016, after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, Walter moved into the nursing home that he helped to get started, according to a report.

In early August 2016, Walter got up in the night to go to the bathroom, but he fell and hit his head on a nightstand. A certified nursing assistant and a licensed practical nurse found Walter on the floor of his room. The pair helped Walter up, helped him to the bathroom, and then helped him back into bed.

This might sound, to a layperson, like the right thing to do. It wasn’t. The facility’s procedures called for the completion of a fall report in any instance like this. The CNA allegedly claimed that the LPN told him not to fill out a fall report. Additionally, facility policies required the completion of an assessment to rule out a serious injury before any fallen resident is moved at all. The policy also required doctor notification. These things didn’t happen either, according to the report.

Six hours after the accident, Walter told facility staff about hitting his head on the nightstand. However, not until Walter’s family came to visit and noticed his slurred speech and diminished responsiveness, was a doctor summoned to examine the patient. The doctor ordered Walter transferred to the hospital. Walter had a traumatic subdural hematoma and had been bleeding for some time. He died the next day.

After the accident, the nursing home made several changes. It fired the CNA, and the executive director stated that he intended to no longer use nurses from the staffing firm that had provided the LPN to the facility. After an investigation, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fined the nursing home $140,000 for its failures, reported.

Walter’s was not the first fall-related death at the nursing home to prompt action. Previously, a 102-year-old resident, who had had a history of multiple falls and was supposed to be wearing a motion sensor, fell in early January 2009. The resident was not wearing her motion sensor. She died a week later from blunt head trauma and a subdural hematoma.

The woman’s daughter sued the nursing home for wrongful death and ultimately reached an out-of-court settlement. The daughter explained that her legal action was not motivated by money; instead, she simply wanted the nursing home to acknowledge their wrongdoing, according to a Worcester Telegram report.

If a loved one has been injured or has died while a resident at a nursing home, you should reach out to counsel to discuss your legal options. Experienced Plymouth County nursing home negligence lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann has provided diligent and compassionate representation for clients in nursing home negligence cases from across Plymouth County for many years. To find out more about how we can assist you, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.