North Carolina Assisted Care Facility Fined After Fall Causes Patient’s Death

Senior FallingWilmington, NC- An assisted living facility in the Wilmington area has been fined and cited after a patient fell and died of their injuries three to four days later.

The Hermitage House, an assisted living facility in Castle Hayne, was fined $2,000 for the patient’s death. They were cited by the state’s Department of Division of Health Services Regulation with an A2 violation. Type A violations are issued when conditions at a facility can cause “death or serious physical harm to a resident or is likely to result in death or serious physical harm,” according to the Star News.

The A2 violation and fine was imposed after an incident in late April in which a patient fell out of bed and suffered a broken neck. The patient in question was prone to falls and suffered facial bruises as a result of a fall on April 29th of this year. On April 30th/May 1st, the same resident fell out of their bed and was not found for hours later. Instead, of calling a primary care physician or emergency services when the patient was discovered lying on the floor of their room, the facility delayed action. The patient was not taken to the emergency room until May 2nd.

A relative of the injured patient was informed the individual suffered a fractured neck and a few days later the patient died of their injuries.

A fractured neck is a serious injury, especially if the patient is elderly. Had the facility contacted the patient’s primary care physician or taken them to the hospital, their death may have been prevented.

The Heritage House was also cited after regulators discovered that one patient has been physically abusive towards several other patients. In one incident the aggressive patient slapped a staff member and on another occasion slapped a patient so hard they had to be taken to the emergency room.

While assisted living facilities are not required to have 24-hour patient monitoring or RNs on staff, they are supposed to make certain their residents are safe. When they fail in this, they can still be held liable for any injuries or deaths that occur at their facilities.

Falls can be serious for elderly patients often resulting in broken bones and brain or spinal injuries. When patients are prone to falls, there is the reasonable expectation that a facility will take steps to prevent frequent falls or have the appropriate response such as calling a physician when a fall occurs. Failing to protect a resident from injury, can not only result in fines, but can make them vulnerable to a civil lawsuit.

When a resident of a long-term care facility is seriously injured, abused or dies because of negligent care, a nursing home abuse attorney can assist victims and their relatives with filing a civil lawsuit. These victims may be eligible for compensation and with the assistance of a legal expert they can optimize their resulting settlement.