State: Extremely drunk worker left seniors in Apple Valley facility unattended

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 5, 2013 - 9:06 PM

 

An assisted-living facility in Apple Valley has been cited by state regulators in connection with a May 31 incident when police found an employee extremely drunk and asleep in the lobby, with an entire wing of elderly clients left unattended.

The findings, reported Thursday by the state Health Department, concluded that the facility, Ecumen Centennial House, was responsible for the employee’s neglect.

Police officers who had been called to the facility awakened the employee on a couch that evening and conducted a preliminary breath test, according to the department report.

The results showed that his blood alcohol content was above 0.32 percent, or more than four times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.

Paramedics were then called, and they took the employee to a hospital while an on-call staffer was brought in to finish the shift, the report added.

No clients suffered from the employee’s lapse, but Apple Valley Police Chief Jon Recht- zigel called the incident “very disturbing.”

“There were a lot of things that could’ve gone wrong there,” Rechtzigel said. “We avoided tragedy.”

The facility, operated by corporate parent Ecumen of Shoreview, has since made corrections required by the state.

“This was deplorable behavior … and violated everything Ecumen stands for as an organization,” said corporate spokesman Eric Schubert. “We are extremely sorry this incident occurred.”

Schubert said the employee, whose identity was withheld by state officials, was fired immediately.

Ecumen Centennial House is made up of 79 single-level studio apartments, and its services include specialized memory care.

 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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