Negligent delay or Attempted Cover-up?

A resident of a Williamsburg care facility died after a nine-hour delay in receiving medical care for serious injuries she sustained in a traumatic fall. State inspection reports indicate that at 9:45 p.m. on June 2, 2023, a nurse aide at the Highland Ridge Care Center in Williamsburg found a female resident on the floor of her room complaining of pain “all over.” The aide later told inspectors the resident was writhing on the floor in blood-soaked pajamas.

According to the inspectors’ report, the aide said there was blood on the floor, on the walls, in the woman’s hair, on her hands and legs, and on the left side of her head. There was so much blood, the aide reportedly told inspectors, that she began wiping the resident’s hands with a washcloth in an effort to find the source. The Highland Ridge staff had to shower the woman “because there was so much blood they couldn’t find where it was coming from.”

An aide who worked the overnight shift later told inspectors that after being put to bed the woman lay in the fetal position “shaking really badly.”

However, the registered nurse contradicted those accounts and noted the resident enjoyed full range of motion in arms and legs with no complaints of pain.

At 6:30 a.m. the day after the fall, the resident was complaining of pain in her right arm and cried out when a nurse touched her. The woman was transported to a hospital emergency room where the staff noted her right leg was shortened and rotated outward, and that she had a head laceration with dried blood above her right eye. A series of X-rays revealed a displaced fracture of the right arm, as well as a fractured leg and hip.

Ten days after the fall, on June 12, the resident died.

This article appeared in the Iowa Capital Dispatch.