The Minnesota Department of Health has released its findings on the death of 91-year- old nursing home resident Mary C. Harris: the conclusions should send a chill down the spine of anybody with a loved one whose care they’ve entrusted to a long term care facility. According to the report, Mrs. Harris’ death was the fault of Heritage Manor, a senior care facility operated by St. Francis Health Services which the Department of Health said “failed to provide adequate supervision when the resident’s foot rested on a heater and was burned.”
The story behind Mrs. Harris’ death is a painful reminder of the helplessness of nursing home residents and their family members in the face of nursing home neglect. She originally suffered a small burn on her foot after her bed was placed too close to a heating register. Though the original injury measured less than one square inch, following her physician’s initial treatment of the burn it grew larger and the staff failed to report it to her doctor. It grew larger, turned red and then purple, and eventually led to an overwhelming shut down of her physical systems. She lost her ability to respond to questions, spots started appearing on the lower half of her body, her blood pressure fell, and she eventually went into septic shock and died after being admitted to Fairview Range Medical Center.
The state report read, “Several staff had observed the resident’s bed in the position near the heat register, without identifying the potential hazard. Several staff took care of the resident after [her] foot was burned and did not call the physician with the [changes] in condition.” It went on to say, “The resident’s primary physician … stated she did not receive notifications of the changes in the burn size and condition. Had the physician been notified, the physician would have observed the burn, made changes to the treatments, and prescribed an antibiotic for the infection of the burn that developed.”
The news of the neglect suffered by Mrs. Harris, who suffered from dementia, is painful for all to hear. When family members place their loved ones into a nursing home’s care, they do so with the trust and hope that they will receive compassionate, attentive care. If someone you love has suffered nursing home abuse or neglect, contact Danziger & De Llano Nursing Home Law Firm today at 1-800-721-1908, or learn more about us by visiting our website, www.nursinghomelawfirm.org/nursing-home-neglect-lawyer/