Iowa nurse charged in patient's death

A licensed practical nurse is facing criminal charges in the death of an 87-year-old man at an Iowa nursing home, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported March 22.

Becky Sue Manning was arrested March 21 and charged with felony wanton neglect of a resident at Fonda (Iowa) Specialty Care. The resident had recently undergone a tracheostomy, so staff kept a suctioning machine in his room to unclog his airway as needed. 

Prosecutors allege the man died on Feb. 19, 2023, after Ms. Manning failed to suction his airway despite repeated requests from several colleagues. At the time, Ms. Manning was working as a temporary contract employee at the facility.

The man's death prompted a state investigation, and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals fined the nursing home $10,000. This fine was lowered to $6,500 after the nursing home opted not to appeal.

Care Initiatives of West Des Moines, which operates the nursing home, told the Iowa Capital Dispatch that it does not admit to any statements, findings or conclusions in the state inspection report.

"In service to our nonprofit mission and core value of improvement, Care Initiatives is committed to continuously improving quality in everything we do," a company spokesperson told Becker's March 25. "We take our responsibility to care for our residents and their families seriously and work to ensure we are able to provide all necessary care and services. As part of our commitment to quality, Care Initiatives continues to work to reduce the need for temporary third-party staffing agency workers, which had been utilized due to workforce shortages in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also continually working to ensure our team members are trained and educated to provide the quality care expected for our residents."

Ms. Manning was released from jail March 22 on a $10,000 bond and has yet to enter a plea. The Iowa Capital Dispatch could not immediately reach her attorney for comment. 

Editor's note: This article was updated March 25 at 5:30 p.m. CT.

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