State fines New York nursing home $10k after resident was beaten to death

The New York State Health Department has fined Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Buffalo $10,000 for care violations related to the beating death of an 82-year-old female resident, according to a report from The Buffalo News.

On Aug. 26, 2016, Ruth Murray, a resident in the facility's dementia unit, was unsupervised and mistakenly wandered into an 84-year-old male resident's room. The male resident was also living in the dementia unit and reacted violently to Ms. Murray's entry, reportedly believing his fellow resident to be another man breaking into his home.

During the attack, Ms. Murray suffered a broken neck, several broken ribs, a broken nose, facial fractures and a collapsed lung. She died three days later at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, according to the report. The man was not legally charged in Ms. Murray's death because it was determined he lacked the mental capacity to form criminal intent and was not mentally fit to stand trial, according to the report.

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An inspection conducted at Emerald South by the health department identified four issues that resulted in the $10,000 fine:

• Residents did not receive adequate supervision to prevent accidents.
• The nursing home did not notify authorities within 24 hours of the incident.
• The facility did not notify the family or legal counsel of the male patient before he was transferred out of the unit for evaluation.
• There was no documentation of an admission agreement signed by the male resident or a responsible party.

The fine is the maximum the department can issue for violations directly resulting in serious patient harm, according to the Buffalo News.

"The department required the facility to submit a revised plan of correction for review and approval. Based the seriousness of this matter, the department fined Emerald South $10,000 and conducted a post-survey visit at Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation to make sure all of the corrections were made," the state health department said in a statement, according to Buffalo News.

Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has submitted a plan of corrections to the state health department. The department has deemed the plan acceptable.

More articles on quality: 
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Hospitals fail to document nearly half of all family-reported medical errors, study finds 
CMS seeks input for pediatric alternative payment model 

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