A Registered Nurse (RN) at St. Ann’s Community Home in Rochester, New York recently entered a plea of guilty in a criminal court case involving neglect of an elderly resident. RN Christine Deisenroth was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. AG Eric T. Schneiderman charged the nurse with Falsifying Business Records, a Class A Misdemeanor under the Penal Law. Deisenroth failed to administer the medication Lovenox, a blood thinning medication, to a resident on numerous occasions. Despite orders directing her to provide the medication she allegedly failed to do so, then covered up the failure by charting in the resident’s medical records the administration of the medication.
Charting is very important in the nursing home environment. It provides a written account for the staff to refer when caring for a patient. As an integral part of what is referred to as the “continuity of care”, the integrity of the chart allows for seamless transition between shifts when performed properly.
Here, for approximately eight shifts when Nurse Deisenroth worked, this resident did not receive a very important medication. Obviously, that is a problem since the medication was ordered for a purpose (to prevent the formation of blood clots). But what makes it worse is that in the event Nurse Deisenroth had not falsely initialed that the medication was provided, a staff member might have noticed and given the meds.
Diagnostic tests administered after the failure to provide the medication was discovered showed the presence of deep vein thrombosis in the resident’s legs. Deep vein thrombosis occurs when a blood coot forms in the deep veins, usually in the lower extremities. It is a dangerous condition because the clot can travel to the lungs, a condition called a pulmonary embolism, which can result in death. In this instance thankfully it seems that the DVT was treatable and did not lead to any complications.
AG Schneiderman asserted in his press release, “New Yorkers deserve every assurance that their loved ones will be appropriately cared for in nursing facilities. My office will prosecute anyone who fails to meet their legal obligation to provide care to our most vulnerable citizens.”
Medication errors resulting in injury to nursing home residents is a deprivation of the resident’s legally afforded rights. We will hold nursing home accountable for your loved one. Contact Gallivan & Gallivan to hear more about our services.