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Winchester nursing home sued over death

A troubled Winchester nursing home's failure to assess the respiratory condition of a 54-year-old man led to his death after a six-day stay, according to an attorney representing his family in a lawsuit.

The Winchester Centre for Health and Rehabilitation, where the death occurred, has faced numerous state and federal sanctions in the past two years and was threatened with the loss of Medicare and Medicaid funding before the state found it in compliance last month.

On Jan. 25, 2008, after a brain aneurysm, William Baker was admitted to the nursing home, said Louisville attorney Martha Marie Eastman.

Eastman said the facility failed to assess and monitor Baker's respiratory condition or to suction him. Baker developed breathing problems and was transferred to a Lexington hospital, Eastman said.

Baker died at the hospital on Jan. 31, 2008, according to a lawsuit filed Feb. 26 in Clark Circuit Court by Baker's son, Greg Baker.

"The lack of care and attention caused Mr. Baker to suffer in a most traumatic fashion and ultimately die," the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also the said the facility "established staffing levels that created recklessly high nurse/resident ratios."

Dennis McNatt, the administrator at the nursing home, said Wednesday that "we have just been served with a copy of the complaint and haven't had a chance to fully review its allegations."

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of problems for the facility, which in 2008 received two type A citations — the most serious the state can give. One, in August, was for not calling a doctor when a man lost more than 87 pounds in 19 days.

At the end of the 19 days, the man was found unresponsive and was taken to the hospital, according to the citation from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

A second type A citation was issued Jan. 12 after a patient received the wrong dose of an anti-seizure medication for 40 days in November and December, an error that wasn't discovered until the patient suffered a seizure.

The facility didn't have a system to make sure that medications were administered properly, according to the Jan. 12 citation.

By Feb. 12, however, the nursing home was meeting requirements to serve patients receiving Medicare and Medicaid and was no longer in danger of losing its federal funding, said Beth Fisher, a spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. There are 166 patients at the facility.

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