Pennsylvania revokes nursing facility's license after child's death

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The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services revoked the license of Allentown-based Firely Pediatric Services Home for Kids in July after a report found two staff members ignored an alarm for nearly 20 minutes, leading to the death of a 14-year-old boy, according to The Morning Call.

The child died May 16 at a hospital after his oxygen dropped to dangerous levels while he was still at the nursing facility. Security camera footage and pulse oximeter data revealed Firely Pediatric Services staff members did not intervene until the child's oxygen levels had been dropping for about half an hour and an alarm had been sounding for 18.5 minutes, according to the state report. 

The state's child abuse hotline did not receive word of the child's death until June 7, even though state regulations require child residential facilities to report patient deaths verbally within 12 hours and in writing within 24 hours. A similar incident also occurred at the facility in April 2018, when staff ignored an alarm and a child's heart temporarily stopped.

DHS notified Firely Pediatric Services in July that it was revoking the license of its Allentown facility for failing to comply with state regulations; "gross incompetence, negligence or misconduct;" and patient mistreatment and abuse.

"We acknowledge that something horrible happened and we don't want anything like that to happen again, but we're going to work with the state to get our record clean," said Marty Firely, president of the Firely Pediatric Services company. He said it was not his company's responsibility to report the child's death because it occurred at a hospital, after the child had left the facility.

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