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Nursing home fined for missed medication; neglect, hospitalization

Serial neglect of a patient resulted in a four-figure fine on a Tuscon, Arizona-based nursing home, according to a recent Arizona Daily Star/Tucson.com report.

The facility at Emeritus at Catalina Foothills in Tuscon was fined a civil penalty by the Arizona Department of Health Services after an investigation showed staff failed to administer proper medication to treat a resident’s heart and circulatory problems.

A primary physician prescribed the resident the blood-thinner warfarin to counter an irregular heartbeat and history of lung-based blood clots, according to Tuscon.com. An investigator found that staff at Emeritus at Catalina Foothills neglected administration of proper medication on 19 different occasions.

The fine’s dollar total was determined by the number of infractions, according to Tuscon.com, and resulted in a six-month probation penalty for then-executive director of the facility, Teresa Merritt. Merritt denied wrongdoing, according to Tuscon.com, claiming she was on vacation when the incidents occurred.

According to the report, staff failed to administer proper medication on four separate dates over a four-month period in December 2013 and January 2014.

Neglect was suspected after the patient was hospitalized and staff failed to provide explanations for the missing doses.

The fine resulted in the facility deploying a revamped records system, as well as opening a strict pharmacy that is monitored daily. The pharmacy must be checked by the health department on a daily basis.

The complaint was first filed with the Arizona Board of Examiners of Nursing Care Institution Administrators and Assisted Living Facility Managers, where the board unanimously voted in Merritt’s punishment. Merritt was also required to cover the investigation cost and to complete 12 hours of various community outreach programs.

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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, including medication abuse and errors. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, 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.