Last fall, 11 children died due to an outbreak of adenovirus in a New Jersey nursing home. The federal government recently completed its investigation of the incident and, having found the facility negligent, has imposed a fine of $600,000.
The Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Haskell, NJ is a privately owned, for-profit business that has a long-term care center specializing in care for those who are medically frail. The fatalities occurred at the Wanaque Center between October 24th and November 16th. In addition to those who died, many others became seriously ill.
For those with weak immune systems, and especially children, adenovirus infections can be fatal. The symptoms of adenovirus include cough, diarrhea, fever, sore throat and pinkeye. In those who are healthy, the virus causes mild respiratory illness.
New Jersey Facility Had Received Many Prior Deficiency Ratings
According to New Jersey state inspection reports, the Wanaque Center had been written up for 14 deficiencies between 2015 and 2017 – specifically, conditions that could lead to the spread of infection. These include failure for proper supervision of patients in their care and failure to handle medical equipment in a sanitary manner.
Some of the identified deficiencies found were:
· Mold odors in sleeping areas.
· Tubing exposed to germs.
· Nurses were not notified when a patient fell and broke a leg, or when a patient had to struggle to clear the lungs.
· Unsanitary handling of medication.
After the adenovirus outbreak, further inspections revealed a lack of involvement by management, substandard care, poor oversight by administration and lapses in hand-washing and infection control.
In a puzzling contradiction, the facility’s profile in the federal government’s Nursing Home Compare rates the Wanaque Center as above average. However, the same source assesses its health inspection rating as below average.
A union spokesperson expressed concerns about the center’s worsening staffing levels. This, along with a lack of adequate supplies and cutbacks to job standards, occurred since 2014 when new for-profit ownership assumed management.
As this tragic example highlights, nursing home negligence is not limited to the abuse and neglect of the elderly. If you or a loved one has experienced neglect or abuse in a nursing home or long-term care facility, please contact us to discuss your legal options.
We Can Help with Nursing Home Neglect Cases
If you or a family member has been harmed by a defective product, car accident, truck accident, construction accident, slip and fall or any other type of personal injury, please contact StolzenbergCortelli, LLC Attorneys at Law immediately. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorneys Howard Stolzenberg and Terrence James Cortelli, personal injury attorneys in White Plains, Nyack and New York City, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 800-494-0889 or contact us via the website.