Iowa State Regulators Failed to Impose Triple Fine Against Nursing Home Where Resident Bled to Death

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on January 10, 2023 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Updated on May 7, 2024

viewing electronic medical recordLast week, regulators at the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) acknowledged they broke the law when they failed to impose a triple fine against a nursing home where a resident bled to death.

The DIA imposed a fine of $17,500 for failure to make sure the resident’s treatment regimen did not include unnecessary drugs but later suspended the fine. However, the full amount of the fine should have been $26,250. State law requires a triple fine when a nursing home commits more than one Class I or Class II violation within one year. The violation in this case was a Class I medication-and-treatment violation.

Resident Bled to Death After Medical Record Was Flagged

The resident died last month in the emergency room while she was receiving blood. The Iowa DIA cited the facility for not taking appropriate action after being notified of the patient’s risk of having an adverse reaction to her medications.

The facility has an electronic system that monitors residents’ health records for potentially dangerous drug interactions. On December 5th, the system flagged this resident’s records noting there was a potentially dangerous interaction between an antibiotic and blood thinner medication.

Despite this warning, records show staff members did not take notice. They also did not inform the resident’s primary care doctor. Just six days after the warning, a staff member discovered blood draining from a bedsore on the resident. There were also signs that blood had been pooling inside the resident’s body, such as in her feet and upper back.

The resident was taken to the emergency room the next day and doctors found she had lost four pints of blood from a gastrointestinal bleed.

The primary care doctor told the DIA inspectors that the two medications had been prescribed before. The doctor also said he does not think the interaction between the two drugs was the cause of death.

Arbor Court Has a History of Violations

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rates nursing homes from one to five for factors like overall quality, staffing and health inspections. The Arbor Court facility in Mount Pleasant has a one-star rating and has been cited for several violations in just the last 14 months.

  • In October of last year, Arbor Court committed a Class I violation for failing to ensure a resident’s medication regimen was free of unnecessary drugs.
  • In February 2022, the facility was cited for failing to identify, diagnose and treat a severe bed sore that resulted in an exposed bone and an infection.
  • In January of last year, Arbor Court was cited after a resident fell from a device that was being used to transfer her from her bed. In July, the deceased resident’s estate sued Arbor Court and Arbor Court’s management company, MGM Healthcare. The lawsuit says the facility should have called a doctor and an ambulance but waited three hours to do so.
  • In November 2021, the facility was cited for failing to properly identify and provide treatment for a resident’s bedsores.

This is Not the First Time the DIA Failed to Triple Fine Violators

Unfortunately, the Iowa DIA has repeatedly failed to triple fine nursing homes that committed Class I or Class II violations. In 2020, for instance, the DIA should have triple fined Rowley Memorial Masonic Home in Perry, Iowa.

They cited the facility for actions contributing to the death of a resident, hiring a caregiver who was not properly licensed, not protecting residents from sexual abuse and allowing a dementia ward to be supervised by a worker from the kitchen.

Contact PKSD if Your Loved One Was Neglected at a Nursing Home

Our Wisconsin-based nursing home abuse lawyers have secured millions on behalf of victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. We represent clients in Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico, and there is no upfront cost to hire our services. The initial consultation is also free.

If your loved one was neglected and suffered injuries, you may have a case and we may be able to help you hold negligent parties accountable.

Call PKSD today to discuss your claim. 414-333-3333

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