What Does the Shlomo Rechnitz Controversy Have to do with Nursing Home Abuse?

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 2.53.31 PM.pngIn the last three years or so, California news reports have followed the story of the many legal disputes involving nursing homes owned by Shlomo Rechnitz. In some respects, the controversy is simply a matter of business disputes, but part of it actually has to do with allegations of nursing home abuse. In 1998, Rechnitz and his twin brother Steve founded a medical supplies company called TwinMed, and their business interests grew from there, to the point that, by 2016, about 7% of California nursing home residents lived in facilities owned by Rechnitz. The Sacramento Bee ran a series of articles detailing the violations and complaints associated with nursing homes Rechnitz owned or operated.

Doctors and nurses have a duty to provide care for patients in nursing homes, and failure to meet that standard of care constitutes medical malpractice. Title 22 specifies what the standard of care is that nursing home employees owe to patients. Here are some examples of complaints originating in nursing homes associated with the Rechnitz controversy and how they represent violations of the standard of care.

Nursing Home Fails to Meet Patient’s Dietary Needs

According to Title 22, nursing homes must give patients as much feeding support as they require, but not more. Feeding tubes should only be used if there is no other way for the patient to receive nutrition. At Alameda Healthcare and Wellness Center, a patient lost 11% of her body weight in four months because of inadequate feeding support. She had some difficulty swallowing on her own, but would have been able to eat if the food had been less dry. The patient requested more gravy be added to her foods, but the dietary aide did not notify the nursing home cook of this preference until the patient had lost a lot of weight.

Improper Infection Control Procedures

Title 22 specifies that nursing homes must follow medically recommended practices to prevent the spread of infections and infectious diseases within nursing homes. At Oakhurst Healthcare & Wellness Center, insufficient measures to control infection led to seven patients and one staff member becoming seriously ill. Investigators found that the nursing home staff were not following proper infection control protocol in terms of hand washing, cleaning of surfaces, and washing of linens. In another Rechnitz-owned facility that has since closed, a patient died from sepsis after the staff of the nursing home failed to follow the correct infection control procedures.  In this case, the patient contracted a fatal infection after her wound dressings became contaminated. An investigation of the nursing home showed that, in general, the staff was not doing enough to prevent the spread of infection; this was obvious from the cleanliness of the kitchen and bathrooms and from the garbage removal procedures.

Contact Case Barnett About Nursing Home Abuse

California laws are clear about the standard of care owed by nursing homes to their residents.  Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if you think that the nursing home where your family member is being treated is in violation of the legal standards for nursing homes.

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