In health care environments, a DNR order stands for “Do Not Resuscitate.” When a resident has a terminal illness, that resident, or the people who are making decisions on the resident’s behalf, may refuse extraordinary measures to prolong life in the case of a life threatening event.
A DNR is a doctor’s order that is written only when the patient and/or surrogate decision maker decides that resuscitation techniques would be too burdensome with little or no benefit.
So, when a resident is a DNR, it should be obvious to everyone why that resident is a DNR. There should be no room for doubt. When a resident who is “sitting in her wheelchair in the hallway, laughing & talking” suddenly has a cardiac event, there should be no question that every effort needs to be made to revive that patient.
Instead of helping, however, the staff at the Belleville Healthcare and Rehab facility in Belleville, IL did nothing. They stood around and watched her die. By the time the ambulance arrived, it was too late. The patient was not a DNR. She never had been a DNR. Never. For this, the nursing home was assessed a fine of $12,500 for nursing home neglect.
The Department of Health and Human Services report indicates considerable confusion concerning the DNR. One staff member says he saw a paper but not a signature. Another thinks she heard someone else say DNR first.
The truth is this: to stand by while a 61-year old resident who was laughing and talking minutes earlier is gross misconduct under any circumstances. Only a miserably untrained staff would ever allow a resident under those circumstances to die.
There’s plenty of blame to go around, but the fact that multiple staff members chose to do nothing is a clear indication that the problem is system wide.
If you have a loved one who has died unexpectedly in a nursing home, you have the right to answers. A skilled nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer will know how to properly investigate an unexplained death and uncover the truth. At my law offices we offer a free and confidential case evaluation, and we never charge a fee unless we take and win your case.