Workers at Eden Prairie nursing home blamed for fatal transfer

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 9, 2012 - 10:53 PM

Frail resident fell while being moved to a wheelchair.

State regulators say two Eden Prairie nursing home workers dropped a frail resident and lied about the incident that resulted in death.

In a report released Tuesday, the state Health Department said the workers were moving the resident with a mechanical lift from a bed to a wheelchair but "failed to check and verify that all of the loops on the sling were properly attached to the lift."

The resident fell to the floor and suffered numerous broken bones. The resident also suffered a collapsed lung, and developed respiratory and renal failure before dying three days later at a hospital, the report added. The death certificate said the fatal injuries were the result of a "transfer mishap."

The report did not give the resident's name, age or gender, but said the resident was "moderately cognitively impaired."

Investigators concluded that the employees, who were not identified, were at fault and not the nonprofit Castle Ridge Care Center.

In a statement released Tuesday, Castle Ridge administrator Jim Angell wrote that the two certified nursing assistants were fired because of the resident's death on Jan. 25 and their actions reported to the Health Department. "Castle Ridge places a high priority on fall prevention through education, direct training, and routine review of equipment and its proper use," Angell wrote. "Our staff are trained and certified, and we regularly reinforce procedures and practices along with the diligence required to meet resident needs at the highest level possible."

According to the report:

An aide working nearby reported hearing a "loud thud" followed by the resident saying "ow."

A nurse entered the room moments later and saw the resident in a wheelchair; the two workers told the nurse that the resident suffered a bump to the head from a bar on the lift.

About two hours later, X-rays received by the facility showed several broken bones. The nurse asked the workers to re-enact the incident, leading the nurse to determine "that it was not possible that the bar hit [the resident's] head."

One of the workers acknowledged not wanting to tell the truth out of fear "they would lose their jobs."

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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