Nursing Home Resident Dies from Poor Nutrition
Injury attorney Jeffrey Pitman, of Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice, S.C., filed a lawsuit on behalf of an Oshkosh woman who died after being admitted to an Oshkosh nursing home for a broken arm.
The resident, a 96-year-old female, was living independently at her home until she suffered a fall, resulting in a broken right arm and her subsequent admission to Bethel Home for rehabilitation. At the time of her admission, the resident weighed 98 lbs. Eight days into her stay, a dietician documented that the resident experienced a ten pound weight loss since being admitted to the facility and a urinary tract infection that left her at risk for dehydration.
The inadequate amount of fluids, due to her recent urinary tract infection, decreased intake and difficulty accessing fluids with a fractured arm coupled with the use of pain medications placed her at risk for constipation.
The residents bowel movements were to be recorded every shift in the nurses records, however this was not done. The resident didn’t have a bowel movement for six consecutive days until a doctor ordered a tap water enema, but records are unclear if the enema was administered.
After being lethargic, refusing food and fluids, and complaining of a tender abdomen, the resident requested to be sent to a hospital that diagnosed her with fecal impaction, acute renal failure, urinary tract infection, diverticulitis and malnutrition. She was manually disimpacted by a surgeon, administered bowel medications and given numerous enemas to completely clear out the bowel. Her condition improved and the impaction and acute renal failure were resolved.
After her treatment, she was re-admitted to Bethel Home where she weighed 100 lbs. Ten days later she had lost eleven pounds. Reports show that a nurse obtained an order to administer two health shakes a day for weight loss. The resident was at high risk for dehydration, fecal impaction, and weight loss and required daily monitoring of food and fluid intake but no care plans were initiated to prevent further occurrences of any of these conditions.
Nurses records show that the resident lost 13 lbs. in 21 days during her second stay at Bethel Home. Once again, the lack of adequate nutritional interventions and appropriate nursing assessments resulted in the resident suffering dehydration, fecal impaction, urinary infection and weight loss. The resident was once again transferred to a hospital where she was diagnosed with urospesis, acute renal failure and fecal impaction. Despite medical intervention her health continued to decline. She died at the hospital on December 12, 2004.
The lawsuit, filed in Wnnebago County, alleges that the staff at Bethel Home failed to prevent dehydration, provide adequate nutrition and prevent weight loss. It is also alleged that the staff of Bethel Home failed to follow physician orders.
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