Several media outlets have reported the investigations that found maggots in the throat and pubic area of two elderly women in Michigan nursing homes. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, and the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc., said the two women suffered severe neglect and abuse. The two nursing home were cited for several serious violations.
The first case involves a woman who had been complaining of “itching and burning around her catheter.” She could not attend to her own personal hygiene without help. Bed baths were not routinely provided. Both a CNA and the charge nurse said the woman did not get a shower because the nursing home did not have enough staff. Maggots were found to be infesting in and around the catheter area. The woman was sent to the hospital where they discovered she suffered septic shock secondary to an untreated urinary tract infection, skin wounds and kidney stones. Later tests and examinations revealed she had a broken hip and extensive skin changes due to poor hygiene and not being turned in bed.
The survey also indicates that a Registered Nurse manager was instructed by clinical corporate staff to document the discovery as “debridement” (removal of dead tissue) rather than “maggots.” The documents show that a nursing assistant said maggots were still in the genital area of a 66-year-old woman three days after their initial discovery. Staff members told a state inspector they had observed flies on and near the woman about two weeks before the discovery of the maggots and one staffer even reported telling a supervisor “she’s gonna get maggots.”
The violations at Whitehall Healthcare Center of Ann Arbor included failure to supervise two residents in wheelchairs, both of whom were injured as a result; failure to provide a sanitary, comfortable and orderly interior; failure to adequately monitor the fluid intake and output for a patient who became dehydrated; and failure to maintain complete staff personnel files and complete required certification, license and background checks. Whitehall was fined $17,000 for the violations, and the state recommended other penalties to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The documents shed more light on conditions at the 102-bed nursing home, which has been identified through state inspections as among the worst in Michigan. Now three former CNAs have sued the nursing home and its parent company alleging they were fired for reporting patient abuse and neglect at the facility. One was fired after filing a complaint that brought the state to the facility to investigate a patient’s fall, the lawsuit states. Two others were fired after they and the employee who filed the original complaint told state investigators about the discovery of the maggots, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit also alleges the nursing home tried to prevent employees, including two of the nursing assistants and a nurse and a nurse manager, from participating in the investigation into the maggot discovery by suspending them while it was under way, then firing them.
The lawsuit filed Nov. 22 by Nikenda Morton, Wanda Mosley and Latasha Bryant seeks relief under the state’s Whistleblower Protection Act, asks for a jury trial and seeks unspecified compensatory damages for economic injury, including loss of employment, mental and emotional distress, humiliation, all attorney fees and court costs.
The other investigation involved a female resident at Cambridge South Nursing Home who had a trachea and “had been coughing more than usual but she was not immediately assessed because staff was ‘rushed.’” “The resident’s condition became so severe that emergency medical services were called to the facility where they found her airway obstructed by maggots,” the report said. Very active maggots, estimated to be in the first to second stage of development were found, as the woman’s throat was being suctioned to open her airway, the report said.“This is a disgrace and an outrage, not only are there outrageous abuses occurring, but the multiple layers of agencies and regulatory safeguards to protect the residents have failed miserably,” said Elmer Cerano, executive director MPAS.
See articles at The News-Herald, Ann-Arbor.com, and Ann-Arbor.com.