The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has fined The Crossings, a New York nursing home $13,300 for failing to provide emergency medical treatment to a choking resident. The fine involves an October 15, 2007 incident where an 89-year-old woman was left unattended by a nurse as she ate her dinner.
The nurse returned to the woman’s room to find the woman with her mouth open, not breathing and here lips were blue. The nurse failed to call a ‘code blue’ to the situation and woman died. A ‘code blue’ alerts the nursing home staff to a dangerous situation and summons them to help with medical assistance. Code blue’s also instruct the nursing home staff to call 911.
An investigation into the incident demonstrated the nursing home staff lacked training on ‘code blue’ drills that resulted in potential harm to all residents of the facility. Amazingly, this nursing home was not shut down immediately by nursing home inspectors.
As we have discussed before in Nursing Home Law News, many of the errors made in nursing homes do not involve complicated medicine. Why a nursing home employee, or any person, for that matter would not pick up the phone to call 911 reaches far beyond an error into into criminal territory.