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Most vulnerable patients at risk for nursing home negligence

Placing a loved one in the care of a long-term nursing facility is seldom an easy decision.  Sadly, regardless of the time one invests in researching a chosen facility, the most vulnerable patients are often unable to advocate for themselves and can become victims of nursing home negligence. There are countless Maryland residents who may have concerns about their loved ones' safety.

Recently, one nursing facility was the target of an investigation after a series of deaths of residents who were dependent on ventilators. Over the past four years, it was discovered that the patients' deaths were attributed to negligence on the part of nursing staff. In the first death, which was reported in 2015, a patient's respirator was purportedly disconnected two hours ahead of the scheduled time. The patient was found without a pulse after approximately 25 minutes and died the following day. It was unclear whether the ventilator was scheduled to be turned off at a set time.

In 2017, a resident's airway tube was accidentally disconnected. In spite of the alarm that alerted staff to the problem, the resident had not been receiving proper ventilation for about an hour. That patient also died. In the most recent death, which occurred in August of last year, a 78-year-old woman's ventilator shut down. She was reported deceased after going an estimated 39 minutes without proper ventilation.

The Minnesota Department of Health has ruled that all three deaths were the result of negligence related to the oversight of these patients' ventilators. It is unknown whether the facility will be fined or face other penalties related to these findings. Maryland residents who fear that their loved ones may have died or suffered harm due to nursing home negligence can take steps to protect their loved ones and other residents by filing complaints with proper officials and seeking recovery of their monetary damages through a civil lawsuit.

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