Burnt-Out Causes Death

The Indianapolis Star reported that prior to the pandemic, Wedgewood Healthcare Center had the lowest possible staffing rating from federal regulators — “much below average” — and was in the bottom 15% for total staffing nationally. It remains poorly rated. This may explain the actions of one nurse.

An Indiana nurse Connie Sneed pleaded guilty to a felony after removing a patient’s oxygen causing his death at a poorly staffed nursing home. The patient, James Godfrey, 72, died on April 30, 2020, hours after his oxygen was unhooked.

The Judge did not give her jail time. She pleaded guilty to knowingly or intentionally acting as a physician’s assistant without a license, a Level 6 felony. Under the plea deal, she received a suspended sentence of 540 days, which means she won’t serve jail time as long as she stays out of trouble.

Sneed was a licensed practical nurse. In an interview with state health inspectors a few days after Godfrey’s death, Sneed confirmed that she had removed the resident’s oxygen. She said that she’d had a “terrible” week and was caring for more than 40 COVID-19 patients at the facility when she forgot to notify the resident’s physician of his decline.

Care Can’t Wait Summit

Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D- TX) and Jan Schakowsky  (D-IL) recently participated in the Care Can’t Wait Summit to discuss safe staffing in nursing homes. The summit was organized by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, SEIU, AFL-CIO, AFT, AFSCME, Community Change, MomsRising, Care in Action and Care Can’t Wait.

Doggett said that there isn’t a shortage of workers willing to work in nursing homes but…

there aren’t enough people willing to do the job if they don’t get paid and if they don’t have working conditions that allow them to provide the kind of care you want to provide. …I believe that the best way to get more workers engaged in the care of our most vulnerable citizens is to pay reasonable wages and half staffing.”