A 46-year-old nursing home patient died from dehydration after only a nine-day stay at the facility. Her death is being reviewed as “suspicious” by the state’s Bureau of Investigation after the medical examiner labeled the death a homicide, blaming poor treatment.
The autopsy report concluded, “Because of the nursing home neglect, the manner of death is homicide.” The report states, “[The patient] died of dehydration due to inadequate care following multiple blunt force injuries due to (an) automobile accident.”
The woman suffered injuries including a closed head injury in a Feb. 8, 2008, car crash and was recovering at the hospital before being transferred to the nursing home on March 18, 2008, to continue her recovery, according to a lawsuit filed by her family members.
The nursing home “failed to provide adequate fluids for the decedent to survive, not to mention heal and/or attempt to heal from her injuries.,” the lawsuit claims.
The suit also alleges that the facility “failed to maintain accurate medical records, develop and implement a nursing care plan regarding her condition during her stay, and to properly track the progress and treatment of her health care issues.”
The family said they filed the lawsuit “just to prevent it from happening to anyone else, to make sure no one else’s mother, grandmother or grandfather” go through the same thing.
Added the attorney, “You expect better care under someone who is professional. You would expect to be taken care of – not neglected.” For more, read the story.
A nursing home or assisting living facility must ensure each patient is provided with the proper amount of fluids to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration. Dehydration is simply the decline in a patient’s medical condition when fluid output exceeds fluid intake.
The amount of fluid each patient needs depends on the patient’s medical condition. Generally, a patient requires 30 ccs of fluid per kilogram (1 kg = 2.2 lbs.) of body weight, although fluid needs may increase or decrease as the patient’s medical condition changes. Patients with renal or cardiac problems may require less fluid in order to prevent fluid excess or overload, which itself can cause medical problems.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.