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Suit alleges Wood River facility didn’t act in time to save resident’s life

Last updated: April 24. 2014 3:57PM - 11101 Views
By Sanford Schmidt sschmidt@civitasmedia.com



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EDWARDSVILLE — The estate of a Bethalto woman has filed suit in circuit court claiming personnel at VIP Manor in Wood River failed to act in time to save the woman’s life.


Patricia Panzier, the administrator of the estate of Hazel Pauline Hendricks, filed suit against the nursing home, its owners and some of the staff members.


The home has also been cited by the Illinois Department of Public Health for the incident and fined $50,000.


The suit claims Hendricks was a resident at the home on Jan. 28, 2013, when she was found to be “gurgling, unresponsive and with an oxygen saturation of 80 percent.”


The suit claims the patient’s doctor, Louis Gary, ordered VIP Manor personnel to transfer her to the emergency room immediately. However, the doctor’s instructions are in dispute because another count of the suit names the doctor and claims he did not order an immediate transfer.


The suit claims the woman was found unresponsive at 11:45 a.m., but staff members did not contact Abbott Ambulance until 12:15 p.m.


A report on file with the Illinois Department of Public Health states that an emergency responder reported that Hendricks was blue when he first entered her room.


The suit claims the staff at the nursing home described the call as a “non-emergent” transfer. The ambulance arrived at 12:34 p.m., and emergency personnel found her in her bed at 12:38 p.m.


“At 12:38 p.m., Pauline Hendricks was cyanotic (blue), hypotensive (low blood pressure) and unresponsive with clumps of food in her mouth,” the suit alleges. The suit claims no staff members checked on Hendricks between 11:45 a.m. and 12:38 p.m.


The emergency medical technicians performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Hendricks and took her to Alton Memorial Hospital, where she died that day.


In addition to VIP Manor of Wood River, the suit also names its owner, SA-ENC VIP Manor, a holding company, nurse Donna Slinkard, Dr. Gary and the corporation for which he works.


The suit claims the facility was not adequately staffed, did not have the correct policies in place, failed to asses the patient, failed to immediately call for a ambulance and other allegations.


The owner “Inappropriately allocated excessive funds to itself and/or its owners, shareholders, officers, employees and/or controlling members, thereby draining VIP Manor of the resources necessary to maintain sufficient and appropriately trained staff,” the suit claims.


The four-count suit is asking for at least $50,000 in each count.


The Illinois Department of Public Health reviewed the case and determined that VIP failed to monitor and treat a resident in respiratory failure and failed to immediately call for an ambulance as ordered by a physician. “This failure result in (the resident) expiring upon arrival at the hospital emergency room,” the IDPH document stated.


The IDPH report stated that the director of nursing and assistant both told officials that there is no policy at the home defining a medical emergency. The department ordered that the facility develop policies that conform to the law, including policies for handling medical emergencies.


The Telegraph contacted VIP Manor seeking a response to the allegations, but was unable to reach a spokesperson.


Madison County Circuit Court documents indicate attorney Kenneth T. Lumb, of Chicago, is representing the plaintiff in the proceedings.


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