Everett nursing home accused of neglect after death of man, 97

EVERETT — An Everett nursing home is being accused of neglecting a 97-year-old man and allowing his penis to slowly rot off.

A lawsuit was filed against the Everett Rehabilitation and Care Center earlier this week. The lawsuit alleges that nursing home staff failed to adequately care for a patient who had developed penile cancer. The man died March 31, 2008, about two weeks after he was rushed to the emergency room and doctors made the grim discovery.

They were the first to report that the man’s penis had disintegrated, Seattle attorney James Gooding said Thursday.

“They were shocked and didn’t know what had happened. They had never seen anything like that,” Gooding said. “No one at Everett Rehab did anything or told anybody about his condition. We believe it was negligence. They didn’t care.”

The state Department of Social and Health Services later cited the home for failing to provide adequate care to the man.

An administrator at the care center on Thursday declined to discuss the allegations. She cited federal privacy laws about health care.

“I assure you however, quality care of our residents is our utmost priority. We deliver care as ordered by (the) residents’ physicians, in accordance with the care plan designated for each resident,” facility administrator Elizabeth Loyet said in a written statement. “I want to assure the Everett community that our team of caring staff remains committed to providing ethical care and quality of life for residents we proudly serve.”

The man went to the nursing home in 2004. His wife had become sick and needed around-the-clock care. He moved into the center to be with his wife, Gooding said. She died a short time later but the man decided to remain at the home.

He was lucid and spoke with his son during weekly visits, Gooding said.

A nurse on Nov. 7, 2007, told the home’s residential care manager that the man had a wound on his penis, records show. The manager went on a three-week vacation and when she returned she forgot about the nurse’s report, according to an investigation conducted by the state Department of Social and Health Services.

She said she didn’t hear anything more about the man’s wound until a doctor at the hospital called on March 14, 2008 — four months later — to report that the man’s penis was gone and instead he had a gaping wound, records show.

Nursing home records document that staff changed the man’s diaper daily and provided him weekly baths between November 2007 and March 13, 2008, according to the lawsuit.

Before he died, the elderly man spoke with state investigators. He recounted telling nursing home staff about a wound to his genitals two months before he was rushed to the hospital.

“They definitely should have seen it. There was no documentation that his penis was beginning to fall off,” Gooding said. “We believe they chose not to put it in the records.”

The man lost 20 pounds and his son finally insisted that he be taken to the emergency room at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

“He was definitely in pain. We don’t know if he complained. They never documented it. We believe he didn’t think that they were going to do anything about it,” Gooding said. “He didn’t just go from having a healthy penis to it falling off one day.”

Nursing home staff told state investigators that the man had a history of refusing baths and assistance with using the toilet. They also said he didn’t allow them to inspect his skin for wounds. He generally only allowed one particular aide on the care center’s staff provide him with intimate assistance, according to state documents.

That aide told investigators he reported the wound to a nurse. The nurse said she saw a 1-centimeter wound about two weeks before the man was hospitalized. She said she told the resident care manager, records show.

The center’s director of nursing concluded that the man’s wound developed because he wouldn’t allow staff to conduct periodic skin assessments, state records show.

Patients have a right to refuse care but nursing homes have an obligation to care for their residents, said Linda Moss, a regional administrator for Residential Care Services, part of DSHS.

“It’s a delicate balance,” she said.

If a patient continues to refuse care, making it impossible for a nursing home to provide adequate care, the home can discharge the patient from the facility, Moss said.

The state determined that the home failed to meet a federal standard for care. The man didn’t receive timely medical attention and the facility failed to notify his family or his doctor of changes in his health, the state determined. The care center also should have reported that the man was refusing to allow staff to inspect his genitals.

Administrators at the facility were required to submit a plan to make sure those problems weren’t repeated. State investigators followed up, and did not find any additional violations, Moss said.

“The intent of the citations is to correct the problem and ensure proper care,” Moss said.

If a care center has repeated citations or fails to correct problems, the state can take enforcement action, such as revoking a home’s license or not allowing new residents, Moss said.

The state has never taken those steps against the Everett Rehabilitation and Care Center, she added.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Ariel Garcia, 4, was last seen Wednesday morning in an apartment in the 4800 block of Vesper Dr. (Photo provided by Everett Police)
How to donate to the family of Ariel Garcia

Everett police believe the boy’s mother, Janet Garcia, stabbed him repeatedly and left his body in Pierce County.

A ribbon is cut during the Orange Line kick off event at the Lynnwood Transit Center on Saturday, March 30, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘A huge year for transit’: Swift Orange Line begins in Lynnwood

Elected officials, community members celebrate Snohomish County’s newest bus rapid transit line.

Bethany Teed, a certified peer counselor with Sunrise Services and experienced hairstylist, cuts the hair of Eli LeFevre during a resource fair at the Carnegie Resource Center on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Carnegie center is a one-stop shop for housing, work, health — and hope

The resource center in downtown Everett connects people to more than 50 social service programs.

Everett mall renderings from Brixton Capital. (Photo provided by the City of Everett)
Topgolf at the Everett Mall? Mayor’s hint still unconfirmed

After Cassie Franklin’s annual address, rumors circled about what “top” entertainment tenant could be landing at Everett Mall.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Stanwood in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Stanwood man gets federal prison for selling fentanyl on dark web

In 2013, Christerfer Frick was sentenced to nine years for trafficking drugs. He began selling online upon his release in 2020.

Molbak's Garden + Home in Woodinville, Washington closed on Jan. 28 2024. (Photo courtesy of Molbak's)
Molbak’s, former Woodinville garden store, hopes for a comeback

Molbak’s wants to create a “hub” for retailers and community groups at its former Woodinville store. But first it must raise $2.5 million.

A fire at a home near Alderwood Mall sent one neighbor and one firefighter to the hospital. (Photo provided by South County Fire)
Officials: Residents returned to burning Lynnwood home to rescue dogs

Five people and six dogs were displaced in the Thursday afternoon house fire, according to South County Fire.

Featuring a pink blush over a yellow background, WA 64 combines qualities of Honeycrisp and Cripps Pink (aka Pink Lady) for a firm, crisp, sweet and tart bite. A naming contest for the new apple runs through May 5, 2024. (Photo provided by Washington State University)
Hey Honeycrisp, this new breed of apple needs a name

Enter a naming contest for WA 64, a hybrid apple with the same baby daddy as Cosmic Crisp.

Police respond to a wrong way crash Thursday night on Highway 525 in Lynnwood after a police chase. (Photo provided by Washington State Department of Transportation)
Lynnwood woman, 83, killed in wrong-way crash following police pursuit

Deputies said they were chasing a man, 37, south on Highway 525 when he swerved into northbound lanes, killing an oncoming driver.

A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

People walk along the waterfront in front of South Fork Bakery at the Port of Everett on Thursday, April 11, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Port of Everett inks deal with longtime Bothell restaurant

The port will break ground on two new buildings this summer. Slated for completion next year, Alexa’s Cafe will open in one of them.

The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.