The Minnesota Department of Health, Office of Health Facility Complaints has issued an Investigative Report finding a local Minnesota nursing home guilty of nursing home neglect because it failed to provide a safe environment and adequate supervision for a resident who wandered into the facility’s laundry room and was burned by hot water that resulted in second degree burns to more than 20% of her body, which led to her death the next day.
The Minnesota nursing home’s laundry room, which is located at the end of one of four resident hallways, has two locked doors that are six feet apart. One of the laundry room doors required a key to gain access (which door is used to exit the laundry room with clean laundry) and the other required a code to be entered to open the door (which door is used to enter the laundry room with dirty laundry). Behind the two washing machines in the laundry room is a cement basin (three feet deep, two feet wide, four feet long) into which a hose from the washing machines drains the hot water from the washing machines.
On December 31, 2016, the resident, who had severe cognitive impairment and used a wheelchair but could walk a short distance, entered the laundry room when the exit door from the laundry room was held open by a magnetic latch located on the wall behind the door. A nursing assistant later entered the laundry room and noticed the resident’s empty wheelchair and heard the resident faintly calling for help from behind a washing machine. The resident was found lying in the cement basin in about two to three inches of 155 degree hot water.
The resident was transported to the hospital where she was found to have suffered second degree burns to her back, buttocks, ankles, and feet. The resident died from complications of thermal injuries and cutaneous hot water exposure the following day.
An investigation into the incident determined that the resident was known to wander throughout the Minnesota nursing home in her wheelchair on a regular basis. On one previous occasion, the resident was known to have wandered into the laundry room. The investigators also determined that the laundry room exit door was routinely left completely open by using the magnetic latch in order to make it easier for the nursing home staff to enter and exit the laundry room with clean laundry.
The investigation found that the Minnesota nursing home did not have an existing policy or procedure regarding locking the laundry room doors. After the incident, the Minnesota nursing home removed the magnetic latch from the laundry room door and its staff were instructed to keep the laundry room doors locked whenever they were not in the laundry room.
Too late for this unfortunate victim of nursing home neglect.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in the United States due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, or resident on resident abuse, you should promptly contact a local nursing home claim attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers (nursing home claim lawyers) in your U.S. state who may assist you with your nursing home neglect claim, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.