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State veterans home sued by state AG

February 25, 2013

The state of Texas has filed a lawsuit against the owners of Lamun-Lusk-Sanchez Texas Veterans Home, charging the facility with violating minimum nursing home standards and threatening the health and safety of its residents.
The suit, brought by Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott on behalf of the state Department of Aging and Disability Services, was filed in 118th District Court last week against Sears Methodist Retirement System Inc. and Senior Dimensions Inc., owners of the veterans' home.
According to the lawsuit, DADS investigators conducted an investigation into several incidents at Lamun-Lunch-Sanchez, including one in which an 87-year-old resident died of complications from diabetes.
The resident exhibited signs of hypoglycemia, including critically low blood sugar levels, the suit states. A licensed vocational nurse said she made one attempt to call the resident's doctor, but received no answer. She then treated the resident with juice and sugar but never made any further attempts to reach the doctor, even after the resident's blood sugar levels “remained outside the prescribed parameters for more than 30 minutes,” investigators claim.
The LVN also failed to notify the registered nurse or call 911 and the resident died approximately one hour after first exhibiting symptoms.
“Despite having physician notification policies, the facility staff failed to notify the resident's doctor when the resident exhibited significant changes of condition and blood sugar levels which were outside the prescribe parameters,” the lawsuit claims.
Investigators claim they discovered “numerous” instances where the facility failed to follow the physician notification policy and resident care plans.
“These failures resulted in a physician not being involved in the diagnosing and management of critical conditions for these residents,” the lawsuit states.
Attorney General Abbott goes on to charge the facility with failure to properly investigate and report the circumstances surrounding the resident's death, as required by law.
Other violations of state law alleged in the suit include:
• Failure to ensure the LVN provided services which met professional standards of quality.
• Failure to provide necessary care and services to “attain or maintain the highest practicable well-being.”
• Failure to promptly notify the physician of lab results.
If the court finds for the state in the lawsuit, the nursing home's owners could be liable for civil penalties of between $1,000 and $20,000 for each day the violations occurred.
Attempts to contact Sears Methodist Retirement Systems or Senior Dimensions representatives for comment on the suit were unsuccessful.

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