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In September 2009, state inspectors investigated Emeritus at Crossing Pointe, an assisted-living facility in the Orlando area, and found "a total collapse in the delivery of care to the residents." One of the mishaps involved a patient not getting her heart medication for four days, which ultimately led to her death. On August 26, 2009, Magdalena Marrone collapsed on the activity-room floor of the facility. When she arrived at a hospital ER, her heart had no pulse, and she was pronounced dead of cardiopulmonary arrest. Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, the agency responsible for regulating nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, described what happened to Ms. Marrone as medical neglect. After seven complaints about the facility, the agency investigated Emeritus at Crossing Pointe, and cited the facility for three-dozen problems. The state has immediately halted all new admissions, although this was done with the facility’s consent. The agency has now begun overseeing corrections for the numerous problems plaguing the facility.

Inspectors found such incidents like: a patient being giving blood thinner (without being prescribed it) and getting so sick she had to go to the hospital for an emergency blood transfusion; an employee who falsified medication and nurse’s orders; three Alzheimer’s patients with toenails so long they curled around their toes; managers who could not give accurate resident counts – sometimes being off by more than 30; managers not knowing which residents lived in which rooms; one resident being assigned to a storage room – although they were later found living in another room; one resident being sent to the hospital with no medical history or identification; an unsecured medicine cart with narcotics inside that was temporarily abandoned by an elevator; and patients with infected and seeping bedsores.

Emeritus Corporation operates nearly 300 residences in 36 states, with nearly a dozen facilities in Central Florida alone. The problems plaguing Emeritus at Crossing Pointe are scary – how could a facility have so many problems? Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration needs to be more proactive in its evaluation of assisted-living facilities, and protect those individuals in our society that cannot protect themselves.

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