Bluffs Care Center fined over gangrene case


January 31st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Council Bluffs care facility has been fined nearly $62,000 by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, after a resident allegedly contracted gangrene following a fall and broken leg, and died. The Des Moines Register says the Regency Rehab and Skilled Nursing Center was also cited for 23 other violations during the past 12 months, including failing to follow physicians’ orders, but no fines were imposed for those alleged violations.

According to the report, the resident who died at the care facilty, had suffered a broken leg in September. A doctor gave the Regency staff instructions to keep an immobilizing device on the resident’s leg, to allow the bone to heal. He told inspectors that he assumed Regency staff would know to remove the device temporarily, to assess the resident’s skin and bathe the leg, as required.

The staff however, apparently failed to remove the device, and also applied ice to an open wound on the resident’s heel, constricting the blood vessels, and slowing the flow of blood to that area.  In October, the resident was admitted to a hospital, with the foot apparently consumed by gangrene. State records said the foot was nearly black, due to “Negligence/no blood flow.”  The resident died on October 27th.

Other, recent sanctions against Iowa Nursing Homes, include the Friendship Home in Audubon being fined $8,000 by the State, after a resident fell to the floor in a lounge area, and was knocked unconscious. The resident allegedly suffered a fractured hip, facial injuries and bruises to the head. State records say the resident died shortly after undergoing surgery to repair the hip.