Nursing home workers disciplined in fatal fall

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 2, 2011 - 9:53 PM

Two nursing assistants were reprimanded and retrained for failing to properly strap a southwestern Minnesota nursing home resident into a mechanical lift, which led to the woman being dropped and suffering fatal head injuries, according to a state investigation released Friday.

The woman, a longtime resident at Divine Providence Health Center in Ivanhoe, "was her normal, jovial self" until she was dropped head-first from several feet out of the full-body lift March 15, the report said.

While the state does not disclose identities of those involved in such investigations, a relative confirmed that the victim was Dorothy Leibfried, 84.

According to the investigation:

Both assistants admitted to not criss-crossing the straps below Leibfried's thighs before activating the lift. She came out of the straps and struck her head on the lift's metal frame.

Leibfried was hospitalized three days, then returned to the nursing home. Her condition deteriorated over several days, and she was put in hospice care. Leibfried died two weeks after being dropped.

The death certificate attributed her death directly to injuries suffered in the fall.

The assistants were reprimanded "with written warnings for failing to follow facility procedures related to resident safety," the report read. They also were retrained on proper use of the lift.

The report noted that the two "expressed remorse for what happened."

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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