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State fines Whittier nursing home for resident's death

August 17, 2011 |  2:34 pm

A Whittier nursing home was fined $75,000 by state regulators Wednesday after the death of a 78-year-old patient whose feeding tube was inserted incorrectly.

The man was recovering from a stroke and suffered from Alzheimer’s when he was admitted to the Orchard-Post Acute Care in Whittier in July 2008, according to a report by investigators from the California Department of Public Health.

After the man's feeding tube was inserted incorrectly, he complained of abdominal pain and was taken to an emergency room, according to the report.

Emergency room doctors discovered that the lining of the man’s abdomen was inflamed and that he was having trouble breathing and was in septic shock, according to the report. He was operated on and and placed on a ventilator, but he died six days later, the report says.

The Orchard, at 12385 Washington Blvd., was previously known as Royal Court Health Care and Berryman Health-West Whittier. It was last licensed by the state in July.

The private, 162-bed center has been cited by the state 63 times in the last five years.

The nursing home has 10 days to appeal the fine. Rich Jorgensen, the facility's administrator for the last year, said an appeal is planned.

Jorgensen said he could not discuss the details of the patient's death due to medical privacy but emphasized that the incident occurred three years ago.

“I stand behind the team and the quality of care that we offer now is high level and good quality,” he said.

Royal Court had previously received two out of five stars in the federal Nursing Home Compare rating system. The facility's current rating also is two stars, Jorgensen said.

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-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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