Elder Abuse and Neglect: On February 26, 2009 the Department of Health & Human Services, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the results of the most recent survey of Vista Hospital of Riverside, located in Perris, California. The results reveal shocking examples of neglect.
The California Department of Public Health, the agency charged with surveying the facility for Medicare, reported “serious deficiencies.” As a result, the Department of Health & Human Services determined that:
“the deficiencies, either individually or in combination, substantially limit the hospital’s capacity to render adequate care to patients or are of such character as to adversely affect patient health and safety . . .”
Examples of some of the deficiencies found were:
– Vista Hospital of Riverside is only licensed to care for 8 ICU level patients, yet on the date of the survey, June 24, 2008, there were 10 ICU patients.
– Staffing reports for 20 random shifts indicated the facility failed to have at least two trained and experienced nurses present in the MSU (medical surgical unit) when ICU patients were present, “resulting in the potential for inadequate patient care due to insufficient numbers of specially trained personnel.”
– A 78 year old woman was admitted with diagnoses that included end stage renal disease. Prior to admission she had been receiving dialysis three times per week and this was noted on admission. However, the patient did not receive dialysis until 5 days after her admission.
– The same patient was supposed to receive a medication, Procrit, for treatment anemia. The medication was not given due to “not available.”
In fact, there are many, many deficiencies noted within the report for the failure to give medications as ordered by the physicians due to “not available.” When the Pharmacist In Charge was interviewed by the surveyors, he stated that “he was not aware of the above issues regarding unavailability of medications and missed doses.”
– On May 26, 2008 a “Code Blue” (emergency due to loss of heart beat or breathing) was called for a 78 year old female patient at 7:57 p.m. The on-call physician was called at that time. The nurses’ notes indicate that the physician was called with an update at 8:30 p.m., 33 minutes later. There was no indication in the record that the physician ever responded to the “Code Blue.”
– On May 15, 2008 a Code Blue was called at 8:11 p.m. for a 62 year old male patient. The physician responded. A second Code Blue was called for the same patient at 8:24 p.m. However, the Code Blue sheet indicated, “The Dr. did not return.” When interviewed, the nurse stated that she did not know why the physician did not respond to the second Code Blue.
These are but a few of the numerous deficiencies outlined in the Department’s 199 page report.
Walton Law Firm LLP has been retained by the family of one of the patients referred to in the report to investigate allegations of malpractice, abuse and neglect. The patient died 11 days after admission to Vista Hospital of Riverside and, it will be alleged, due to the neglect of Vista Hospital of Riverside.
To see the Department of Health & Human Services letter click HERE