Last week the Trib Local Joliet had an article that provides more information about the state’s decision to revoke Hillcrest Nursing and Rehabilitation’s license. Some of our Joliet nursing home neglect lawyers have worked on cases involving residents at Hillcrest where inadequate care led to severe harm to unsuspecting residents. The facility has had chronic problems, being repeatedly unable to provide the level of care necessary to ensure that residents are kept safe, healthy, and protected.
Many different incidents and factors led to the likely closure of the facility. However, this latest story explains that two recent suspicious deaths in the last few months likely contributed significantly to the ultimate decision by the Illinois Department of Public Health to revoke the facility’s license.
The most recent incident involved a female resident who was found unresponsive in her room at the facility in late January of this year. Staff members found the resident sitting against a wall in her room with a coaxial cable wrapped around her throat and between her jaws. Investigations by the state public health department found that many red flags were raised by the death. For one thing, the report issued afterward indicated that the staff members at the home had no idea how long the resident how long the resident had been dead. That is because monitors at the home do not check on residents in their room.
Our Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys were shocked to read that in that particular incident, police officers discovered three burn pipes suggested that drug use likely occurred in the room. Staff members had no idea how long the drug-related items were in the room. This clearly indicates nursing home neglect, with facility employees seemingly failing to have even the most basic understanding about conduct in its own facility.
That death came only a few months after another highly suspicious incident. In late August a 37-year old resident was found dead in the facility. The coroner’s office later examined the victim and discovered the cause of death: drug intoxications from antidepressants drug prescriptions. Specifically, two of the four drugs that she had been prescribed combined to lead to the intoxication that took her life.
The death should not have been surprising, considering the same woman had been transported to a hospital when she was found unconscious a few weeks earlier. At that time the hospital notes indicated that the woman was treated for respiratory failure because of “narcotic overdose/opiate poisoning.” In other words, the facility was clearly on notice that there was a problem with this woman’s prescriptions. Yet, the facility kept such poor records, that it was virtually impossible for state health officials to check to ensure that the resident was receiving the proper dosage of the pills. All of this was on top of the fact that the IDPH report voiced concerns that there were many Vicodin pills and other drugs that were not accounted for or consumed by residents.
Each Joliet nursing home neglect lawyer at our firm knows that these two recent incidents are just the latest in a series of problems that have been found at the facility for years.
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