Two nursing home workers in Arkansas are facing criminal charges, manslaughter and elder neglect, following the 2007 death of a resident. The charges stem from failing to plug an oxygen line into the wall spigot for an oxygen-dependent patient. By the time the workers came back to check-in on the patient her hands were blue and cold.
Upon learning of the resident’s condition, the workers told the nursing director, but failed to alert the resident’s family or physician that her condition was related to a lack of oxygen. Authorities believe that withholding the circumstances surrounding the lack of oxygen to the resident’s physician contributed to resident’s death.
My take is that of course mistakes–no matter how serious–happen and will continue. The real problem in this situation is that the staff failed to catch this mistake before the resident’s injury became irreversible. Had a simple observation plan been in place, this situation could have been avoided.
For laws related to Arkansas nursing homes, look here.