Star Tribune published an investigation article on the front page of this past Sunday’s newspaper, entitled “Care aides get little to no training for life-and-death tasks.” The Star Tribune article focuses on the lack of training and supervision provided to the care aides who are responsible for the health and well-being of vulnerable patients.
The article features a Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm case currently pending in Hennepin County. Our clients, the family of Kenneth Ell seek to hold the St. John Home care facility accountable for causing his wrongful death. Here are some of the points from the article:
- “With home caregivers asked to perform more complex and risky tasks, the absence of training and supervision has sometimes led to fatal results. [Our client] Lisa Lassen is still haunted by the pained cries of her father, as an infection from a foot wound spread through his body, consuming his organs. ‘I will never forget his moaning and yelling for as long as I live,’ Lassen said. The worst part, said Lassen, is living with the belief that his death two years ago was ‘completely avoidable.’’’
- Her father, … a retired railroad worker with diabetes and early dementia, developed a foot infection soon after entering St. John Home Care, a small group home that employed personal care attendants. The Ell family chose the home, in a neighborhood of Minnetonka, in part because it seemed more intimate than a nursing facility and advertised ‘specialized diabetic care’ and ‘wound and foot care’ on its website.”
- In sworn testimony, a former personal care attendant at the home described a chaotic atmosphere. The caregiver, Jessica Crawford, said she watched as a staff member reused hypodermic needles for injecting insulin into diabetic residents, and said her training consisted of being told to watch some videos. The group home’s owner, a nurse, visited ‘maybe once in a blue moon,’ she said. ‘Most of the employees didn’t know what they were doing or didn’t carry through with their jobs correctly,’ Crawford, who no longer works at the home, said in sworn testimony.”
- “Lassen said staff failed to detect obvious signs that her father had a serious infection. He had difficulty walking, complained of foot pain and became increasingly lethargic, Lassen said. When a laboratory report revealed that Ell had an elevated white blood cell count, indicating an infection, she said three-and-a-half days passed before the staff sent the lab report to a physician’s clinic.”
- “By the time Ell was admitted to a hospital, it was too late. The infection had spread so rapidly that, after his lower right leg was amputated, he died of multi-system organ failure. His 89-year-old mother was so overcome with grief that she threw herself on his lifeless body as it lay sprawled on the hospital bed.”
- “The Minnesota Department of Health investigated Ell’s death last year and found that the group home had failed to appropriately treat the client’s diabetes and follow up on the lab report. The facility was cited for neglect. ‘It makes me so incredibly mad,’ said Lassen,… “I believe 100 percent that my father would still be alive today had he been treated by licensed and trained professionals.”
The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.