In a related blog, our Baltimore nursing home injury attorneys discussed the use of chemical restraints in nursing homes, and the recent indictment of a registered nurse from Britthaven of Chapel Hill Nursing Home, after a nursing home resident died from a morphine overdose. The nurse, 44-year-old Angela Almore was charged last month with one count of second-degree murder, and six counts of felony resident abuse, for over-medicating residents with morphine, that allegedly caused hospitalization and wrongful death.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that they are recommending that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should fine Britthaven nursing home the maximum allowed fine by federal law, $20,000.
The nearly 100-page report based on the investigation performed by the North Carolina Nursing Home Licensure and Certificate Section reportedly revealed details of patient lethargy and altered states with the residents who tested positive for opiates.
The Herald-Sun reports that further investigation from the toxicology reports indicate that 14 residents out of 29 in the Alzheimer’s wing at Britthaven tested positive for opiates in February. Not one of these patients had prescriptions for opiate medication. Rachel Holliday, an 84-year old resident, and one of the hospitalized patients with high levels of morphine in her system, died on February 16, 2010 from pneumonia due to reported morphine toxicity.
Britthaven was reportedly investigated after patients were hospitalized from the Alzheimer’s wing of the nursing home, which lead to the discovery of opiates in their blood. A criminal investigation was launched in February by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Investigations Unit, and The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), to investigate for nursing home abuse or neglect, over-medication, or chemical restraint in an effort to make the nursing home residents more manageable.
The report also stated that the facility failed to ensure that a registered nurse adhered to the nursing home policies and procedures regarding the administration of medication and physician’s orders within the Alzheimer’s Wing.
Fine Recommended for Nursing Home Where Patient Died, ABC-11 News, August 11, 2010
Report Calls for Britthaven Fines, The Herald-Sun, August 14, 2010
Alzheimer’s Patient Murdered with Morphine at N.C. Nursing Home, Worker Charged Say Investigators, CBS News, June 11, 2010
Nursing Home Worker Charges, The Carrboro Citizen, June 10, 2010
Nurse Indicted in Patient’s Death, Orange County News Observer.com, June 7, 2010
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