Nursing Home Aide Squirts Glue into Eye of Resident

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on January 17, 2023 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Updated on May 7, 2024

EMT at nursing homeAn Iowa nursing home may face federal penalties after a nurse’s aide mistakenly put glue into the eye of a resident. The incident happened at Aspire of Gowrie, a facility in Webster County that has a known history of multiple serious regulatory violations.

In this latest incident, Iowa Capital Dispatch reports that a nurse’s aide was approached by one of the elderly male residents at the facility. He was holding a bottle in his hand that he had reportedly removed from his bedside table. The resident handed this bottle to the nurse’s aide and asked her for help with his eye drops. The nurse’s aide took the bottle and began squirting the drops into one of the resident’s eyes. However, she neglected to first check the contents of the bottle.

Right after putting drops in the resident’s right eye, he complained of burning and pain. It was only then that the nurse’s aide checked the bottle, only to find it contained fingernail glue and not eye drops.

The facility immediately brought in a team of emergency medical technicians (EMTs)who flushed the resident’s eye. This continued for about 25 minutes or until, as inspectors reported, his “eyelids broke apart.”

While the EMTs were treating the resident, the nurse’s aide finished her shift and left the facility. Inspectors who saw her leaving said they overheard her say, “You wouldn’t believe what just happened.”

The resident received another two weeks of treatment for pain and other vision injury issues resulting from that incident. According to what he told inspectors, he continues to suffer from blurry vision in that eye.

Fines Assessed Against Aspire

Aspire has a history of serious regulatory violations. This latest incident resulted in the discovery of 15 other violations, at both the state and federal levels. According to the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA), citations include:

  • Failure to meet professional standards of care
  • Failure to prevent significant medication errors
  • Inadequate COVID-19 testing and supplies
  • Inadequate infection control

The Iowa DIA also assessed a fine of $5,250 against the facility for failing to keep residents safe. That amount was later tripled because it was the second serious safety violation against Aspire within the last 12 months. That fine is now being held in suspension while the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reviews the situation to decide whether to impose other penalties.

A History of Violations

In the previous 14 months ahead of this latest incident, Aspire had been cited for 67 state and federal regulatory violations. In fact, on the day before the glue incident, another fine had been imposed against Aspire and then suspended against the facility.

Earlier violations involved a bipolar male who was also a resident. This individual made repeated sexual advances and demands against staff and residents at Aspire. This resident was noted for being extremely aggressive in his advances, openly touching multiple individuals and demanding sexual favors. Despite being repeatedly admonished, the man would, according to inspectors, “just laugh and move on to another female.”

The facility was also assessed with violations and cited for not testing either residents or staff for COVID-19, despite the fact that one resident had already tested positive.

Additional violations included citations for being understaffed. Inspectors who came to the facility reported that some residents had not been bathed for several weeks. Despite having 22 residents at the facility, there were often only two people working, only one of which was qualified to provide nursing care.

Tara Behrendsen, a new administrator at Aspire, said the facility was re-educating its staff and taking steps to address the issues raised by inspectors.

Concerned About Nursing Home Negligence? Contact PKSD for Legal Help

At PKSD, our qualified nursing home abuse attorneys in Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico have extensive experience helping the injured. We are deeply committed to protecting the elderly, and we are prepared to seek maximum compensation for your loved ones.

Contact our firm today to discuss your situation and learn whether you may be eligible to seek compensation. If we do represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay.

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