Another lawsuit has been filed against Missouri-based Midwest Geriatric Management Healthcare (MGM), the same nursing home group that was recently sued after a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s was left to die overnight in a whirlpool tub.
In the most recent case against MGM, 72 year old Robert Baehr was given medication intended for a fellow resident of Bent-Wood Nursing and Rehab Center in Florissant, Missouri. A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services investigation revealed that a nurse at the facility switched the records of Mr. Baehr and another resident who was admitted on the same day. As a result, Robert Baehr received antibiotics and diabetes medications that he did not need. It was Glyburide, a medication intended to lower blood sugar in diabetics, that ultimately caused his death. The medication forced Robert Baehr’s blood sugar level so low that he was found unresponsive twice in two days. In the first instance, he was able to be quickly revived, but the next day he had to be transferred to a local hospital where he never recovered.
Robert Baehr, a husband of 44 years, a father and grandfather, had planned to complete rehabilitation at Bent-Wood Nursing and Rehab and to be back home with his loved ones in time for the holidays. Sadly, the nursing home’s inability to keep track of their residents’ charts and medication lists caused his death.
MGM: A Repeat Offender
Midwest Geriatric Management Healthcare and one of its nursing homes, St. Sophia Health & Rehabilitation Center, made major headlines in July when a lawsuit alleged that a nursing assistant left an 88 year old resident with Alzheimer’s alone in a bathtub overnight. The aide realized she’d left Lois Moreland in her private bathtub 8 hours later and rushed into her room to find the woman dead. In that case, the son of Ms. Moreland accused St. Sophia and MGM of deliberately understaffing in order to save money, leaving nursing assistants with too many residents to care for.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also reports that Bent-Wood and MGM Healthcare were cited by federal authorities for the 2016 death of a 36 year old suffering from cerebral palsy. According to the paper, the resident required supervision with all food and drinks and mostly used a feeding tube. The resident was found drinking a soda and began choking and wheezing, struggling to breathe. The victim died at Bent-Wood 1.5 hours later, despite physicians at the facility telling investigators that as soon as breathing problems were evident, the facility should have transferred the resident to a hospital.
Medication Errors Are Not Uncommon
The truth is that medication errors can happen all too easily if proper attention is not given to the task at hand. In the case of Robert Baehr, the medication list transferred from the hospital was correct. It was only once he was admitted to Bent-Wood that a nurse placed Robert Baehr’s record in the wrong chart, instead filling his chart with a medication list intended for another resident suffering from diabetes. The medication was then dispensed as listed in his chart. The only problem was that the medication listed in his chart was incorrect and proved fatal when given to a patient not suffering from elevated blood sugar levels found in diabetics.
There are many checks and balances required in hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. All resident care, including hygiene, nutrition, medication, and healthcare, must be carefully followed every step of the way to ensure the health and safety of residents and patients. Nursing homes that are adequately staffed are more likely to avoid mishaps that can have catastrophic outcomes. The death of Robert Baehr was entirely preventable and it seems likely that had Bent-Wood been properly staffed, Robert Baehr would be looking forward to his healthy return home to his family.