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Brooklyn’s Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, Site of Alleged Deadly Ventilator Incidents, Reckons with Alleged Fatal Fungus Outbreak and Other Issues

Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, a 240-bed for-profit nursing home in Brooklyn, New York, has allegedly been plagued with issues, including an outbreak of the antibiotic-resistant fungus Candida auris and an incident in which two ventilator-dependent residents died within minutes of one another, according to the New York Times and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Two patients died after two nursing home workers forgot to turn their ventilators back on. A June 18, 2018 inspection report documents the circumstances surrounding the death of the two residents:

Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and RehabilitationResident #1 and Resident #2 had an Operational Verification Procedure (OVP) that was performed on their ventilators … Resident #1 and Resident #2 were found unresponsive and were pronounced dead at the facility within 10 minutes of each other. The investigation revealed that the mechanical ventilation was not resumed after the OVP was performed, by the Respiratory Therapist #1 (RT #1), on the residents’ ventilators. Resident #1 was without ventilation for 1 hour and 20 minutes and Resident #2 was without ventilation for 2 hours and 14 minutes.

Nurses at the facility do not know how to operate the ventilators, only respiratory therapists do. Thus, this meant that nurses did not notice the ventilators had not been turned back on.

“The ventilators passed the circuit check, however, the start ventilation button was not pressed. The ventilators were left in standby mode. When the ventilator is in standby mode, the resident is not receiving ventilation,” continues the report. The Director of Respiratory Therapy was called and responded to the scene.  In explaining to government inspectors why he did not immediately report the situation to the Administrator, the Director of Respiratory Therapy told government inspectors, “he was not in his director mode, stating he is human. He reported the situation when he switched back to director mode.” Palm Gardens reported these incidents to the New York State Department of Health but failed to file a report with local law enforcement.

Per the Palm Gardens website, “Palm Gardens Respiratory Pavilion is one of the largest certified Ventilator Units in Brooklyn…” According to the New York Times, “The federal government reimburses facilities for ventilator patients at significantly higher rates than for other patients, according to C.M.S. Ventilated patients can bring in $531 a day compared to $200 for a standard patient. That’s about $16,000 a month compared to $6,000.” While facilities that accept many ventilator-dependent patients may receive larger subsidies from the government, these facilities can still be plagued with problems.

Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and RehabilitationOne issue that has arisen in recent years is Candida auris, a drug-resistant, extremely contagious fungus. Also known as C. aurisCandida auris has infected nearly 800 people since it arrived in the United States in 2015. There have been 331 cases in New York alone.  50% of patients die within three months. A New York Times exposé documented how Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation has become ground zero for this insidious fungus that has wreaked havoc on nursing home residents.

Inspections from government surveyors give further insights into the problems plaguing Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, which was issued three health citations in a recent health inspection issued on April 5, 2019. According to the report, the facility failed to implement gradual dose reductions (GDR) of psychiatric medications, failed to ensure each resident received accurate assessments, and did not implement complete care plans for all residents’ needs.

If you have questions about Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Brooklyn, New York, don’t hesitate to contact an elder abuse attorney. If you or a loved one has experienced nursing home abuse or neglect, please don’t hesitate to speak up. Call (877) 238-4175 or email info@fkesq.com for your free consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney.