MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A southeastern Minnesota nursing home is accused of neglect after a patient died from choking on food during a meal last march, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Officials said the incident happened on March 18, 2011, at the Adams Health Care Center south and east of Austin. Staff interviews and a review of the staff scheduling did not identify the person responsible for the resident’s meal assistance on March 18.

Officials said a night nurse came in early that day to aid with staffing needs. That nurse delivered a meal tray to the resident’s room and helped set up preparation for the meal, but was not sure that they should stay to assist the resident through the meal.

The resident’s nurses had specific instructions from the resident’s medical history on what to feed and how to feed the resident, including telling the patient to swallow each bite twice, clear the throat often, eat slowly and elevate the head of the bed 90 degrees while eating and down to 45 degrees for 30 minutes after eating.

Health officials said the resident had a history of pneumonia and difficulty breathing. Because of that, the resident was at risk for choking and loss of breathe during a meal and nurses are required to be in the room during resident’s meal.

At about 6:03 p.m. on March 18, the resident’s wife reported to nurses that the resident started coughing during his meal. When nurses got to his room, the resident had stopped breathing and had no heart rate.

The resident died as a result of choking and losing ability to breathe during the meal, according to health department officials. The incident is still under investigation.

Comments (6)
  1. moon over the water says:

    There is a spouse in the room? Come on, the spouse is a human being, and has the knowledge of the emergency/help cord to pull or to ring?????If she did not call in time so that help could arrive this is abuse/neglect?? I am so sick of everything called or someone accused of abuse/neglect. This is a case of short staffed hom,es, and an older person who did not think fast enough to get help. Geezz. Lets just prosecute everybody who are care givers then we will not have anymore. Further, why do we feel that life needs to go one forever? Maybe this was God’s plan. The poor person sounds very very ill.

    1. katrina says:

      Let’s hope this person is not in any type of human service job. To say that it was the wife’s fault or it was part of God’s plan that this poor victim choke to death because he was so sick is the epitome of insensitivity and idiocy! Unfortunately it was not all that surprising because that nursing home has had a number of staffing issues that they don’t seem to be able to address. Years ago it was a top notch care center, but no longer – it has really lost credibility as a place someone would want a loved one to be.