Euthanize the Administrators First


Unit 3 South at James Square has 34 beds. On the day shift, it is supposed to have four aides. Today it only has two aides to toilet, serve breakfast, and do clean-up for 17 patients each. It is impossible. Most of the administrators spend most of the mornings in meetings. They should be out on the floors doing the necessary work of caring for sick people. The angry aide is told she will be fired if she leaves. She has minor children.

Helen Norine has been the administrator for about 15 years. In the annual survey in October 2015 by the NYS Dept. of Health, the Statement of Deficiencies runs to 123 pages. Norine’s last day is tomorrow. She is expecting a big farewell reception.

The Statement of Deficiencies is a chilling trip through a land of horrors:

• The patient’s legs were swelling and nobody paid attention. The patient had deep vein thromboses in both legs. Finally, the patient was transferred to a hospital for proper treatment, including the blood-thinner Coumadin. When the patient was returned to James Square, the hospital notified the nursing home of the proper dose of medication to be continued. The re-admission nurse copied down the drug order—and did not pass it on to anyone. After a few days without medication, the patient went into full arrest.

• Food Service was not keeping food at the proper temperature. When the investigator tried to interview the kitchen worker responsible for maintaining the temperature it was discovered that he was foreign-born and could not understand English.

• A patient with cerebral palsy as well as other diseases and virtually no cognitive capability was left lying alone on his bed. There were no wall decorations, no music, no visitors—no stimulation of any sort. He laid there in blank silence day after day after day with no care plan.

• A rehab patient, who planned to go home, needed to learn how to manage his colostomy by himself. In fact, he was not receiving training or assistance in how to maintain hygiene. He wasn’t even receiving daily care.

Many of the deficiencies were followed by a note that the deficiency had been observed in both 2014 and 2013.

In the name of God, how could the NYS Dept. of Health (DOH) let deficiencies linger for years? Oh, well, they weren’t severe deficiencies.

James Square management has hired an agency to respond to the DOH Statement of Deficiencies. The agency has taken over a conference room at James Square for a month.

How can a nursing home unit be left with half-staff?

The last meeting of the family council at James Square had fewer than 10% representation of the 400 patients.

We, as a society, have abandoned our elder citizens. Nobody wants us, or wants to pay to care for us.

How dare you say no to euthanasia?

Starting with Helen Norine and other nursing home administrators who run sub-standard facilities.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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One Response to Euthanize the Administrators First

  1. maieliiv says:

    Love it!

    Date: Sat, 6 Feb 2016 15:54:23 +0000 To: maieliiv@sympatico.ca

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