Man sues two nursing homes over his mother’s care

Two Garfield County nursing homes have been sued over claims of inadequate care of a woman in the months prior to her death in 2005.

Randy Sawyer filed the suit on behalf of the estate of his mother, Audrey Knutson, who died on Nov. 2, 2005, at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.

The suit names Glen Valley Care and Rehabilitation Center Corp., and Life Care Centers of America Inc., of Tennessee, doing business as Heritage Park Care Center. It also names
Colorado Medical Investors LLC, to which Heritage Park is licensed.

It says Knutson was taken to Glen Valley in Glenwood Springs July 26, 2005. She had ulcers on her back and right heel, low back pain and other conditions, including diabetes and hypertension.

In 10 days both ulcers worsened, and she complained of foul odors from them, the suit says, and she had intermittent fever for a few days.

She was admitted Aug. 2 to the emergency room of Valley View Hospital in Glenwood
Springs because of worsening ulcers and a 102-degree fever. She then had ulcer-related surgery. Doctors also determined she had bedsores, the lawsuit says.

Knutson was admitted Aug. 19 to Heritage Park in Carbondale, where “she received inadequate and undignified care,” the suit says.

At one point, a catheter was yanked out of her when tubing became entangled in her wheelchair, and she wasn’t assessed for possible effects of the accident, it claims.

It says the center noticed increased symptoms of depression and that Knutson was eating only half of her meals.

But the center didn’t establish a care plan for her depression and failed to notify a physician when she had lost 21 percent of her body weight, the suit claims.

It says the center failed to implement a pain-management plan and, as a result, she was unable to participate in physical therapy.

It says she was taken back to the hospital Oct. 31, suffering from conditions including nausea, fever, malnutrition, disorientation and dehydration. She eventually died of “intra-abdominal catastrophe,” the lawsuit says.

Heritage Park could not be reached for comment. Glen Valley, now Grace Healthcare of Glenwood Springs, changed ownership in early 2006, said Martha Abercrombie of Grace Healthcare LLC, based in Tennessee.

“We are not permitted to share any resident-related information without a properly executed release from the resident or responsible party,” she said in an e-mail.


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