Nursing Home Resident Dies as Result of a Fall on Christmas Morning

On Christmas morning, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Woodbriar Health Care in Wilmington, Massachusetts improperly placed a resident in a mechanical lift when transferring her from bed to wheelchair, causing the resident to slip out of the lift and fall, breaking both her legs. The CNA attempted the transfer alone in violation of an important safety rule related to mechanical lifts.

The resident, Mary Meuse, was visited by her youngest daughter on Christmas and told by a staff member X-rays showed no broken bones. As a retired nurse who once cared for the elderly, she did not want to be hospitalized during the holiday. However, the next morning she received a phone call saying her mother was in a lot of pain and needed to be taken to the hospital immediately; the family learned of her injuries upon arrival.

mechanical-lift-258x300Meuse’s death was a result of complications from blunt force trauma, a direct result of her fall. Synergy released a statement saying they are “deeply saddened” by the passing of a resident, an investigation was conducted and a report submitted a report to the health department. The report also stated all mechanical lifts were evaluated, their use of lifts policy had been reviewed and education on use was conducted. The company called issues reported at the nursing home “rare and isolated events.”

Employees of the facility have reported under-staffing since Synergy purchased the facility in March 2015. Jocelyn McCoy, the CNA who operated the lift alone, worked Christmas Eve and was asked to work again Christmas day due to short staffing. Although McCoy was devastated about the accident, she was asked to complete her shift ending at 3:00 PM and to work an additional shift until 11 PM; however she was too upset and left at 3:00 PM. She was also responsible for taking care of 10 patients a day despite the normal shift being eight or less.

The company purchased their first Massachusetts nursing home in December 2012 and reports of substandard care have continued to rise, including reports of pressure sores, medication errors and substandard care. State lawmakers requested the health department introduce a public licensing system, which could have prevented Synergy from obtaining four additional licenses; however this system was not implemented until December 2016, after Synergy’s purchase.

the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC is a law firm dedicated to holding nursing homes accountable. If you or a loved one has experienced abuse in a nursing home, please contact the dedicated and aggressive nursing home abuse attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC today.

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