Durham Nursing Home Fined After Four Die From Pneumonia

 Written By Kate Farrish

A Durham nursing home has been fined $2,000 for lapses in patient care in connection with an outbreak of viral respiratory illnesses at the home in April, in which four patients died of pneumonia. Nearly half of the home’s 43 residents were sickened during the outbreak, state records show.

The state Department of Public Health released details of the citation and fine against Twin Maples Health Care Facility on Friday. It also released details of fines against an East Hampton home and a Danbury home.

Twin Maples officials did not report the illnesses as an outbreak until April 24, nine days after 10 percent of the residents had symptoms, the state citation said. By April 30, 20 residents and three staff members were ill. Four patients, who also had underlying health problems, died of pneumonia at the facility or in hospitals on April 22, 23 and 28, records show.

On April 24, the home provided training to its employees on limiting the outbreak and stepped up cleaning of common areas. But state officials said in the citation that the staff failed to implement infection prevention measures, did not sufficiently isolate the sick patients, and did not wear masks during the outbreak. The home’s medical director told state officials that the staff took appropriate precautions and kept the sick patients in their rooms, but decided that masks were unnecessary.

A Twin Maples official declined to comment Friday.

In two unrelated citations dated Jan. 29, DPH imposed a total of $2,720 in fines against the Cobalt Lodge Health Care and Rehabilitation Center in the Cobalt section of East Hampton in connection with lapses in the care of three patients.

In September 2012, a resident was found to have gone five days without a bowel movement without a doctor’s treatment orders being followed, state records show.

In October 2012, a Cobalt Lodge resident broke a knee, and an orthopedist concluded the injury was caused by “a direct blow or resisted contraction bending,’’ records show.

In the third Cobalt case, in November 2012, a resident with Alzheimer’s disease became dehydrated. State records show the staff failed to properly monitor the resident for symptoms of dehydration.

Administrator Todd Zagorski could not be reached for comment Friday.

In another case, DPH fined the Pope John Paul II Care and Rehabilitation Center of Danbury $1,160 on May 22 for failing to provide enough pain medicine in April to a resident with shingles. State records show the resident missed 32 doses of the painkiller Neurontin when a nurse admittedly failed to verify the medication order before placing the order with a pharmacy.

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2 Comments on "Durham Nursing Home Fined After Four Die From Pneumonia"

  1. Senior Citizen | June 16, 2013 at 5:32 am |

    I cannot believe how little value the state has on human lives. These people are the most helpless and the nursing homes are fined only $2.000 for the negligence. I really appreciate your reports on these nursing homes. I hope others read these stories of neglect and I hope someone in the State of CT thinks about raising the fines on these places instead of seeing how they have to raise taxes on fuel and other things. Life is more valuable, you cannot set a price on a person’s life but the fines should make the nursing homes feel the pain. $2.000 is nothing for them will all the money they collect from insurance and the state. I also think health insurance companies should look into the places that are fined and monitor them.

  2. A Concerned Senior | June 17, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

    I agree that the fine is not enough to make any difference in the care at that facility. I hope there is a website where all these fines and complaints are monitored so that when someone is looking for a home they can see how many times that facility has been fined and for what. The lives of these four individuals is certainly worth more $500 each. I spent over $200,000 for care of my mother so I know how much money these facilities take in and how little they expend for individual care.

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