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Nursing home resident dies after improper mechanical chair lift transfer

February 2, 2016
by Nicole Stempak, Associate Editor
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A safety violation with mechanical lift operation is the latest incident facing Synergy Health Centers.

A certified nursing assistant (CNA) was using a mechanical lift to move a Mary Meuse, an 83-year-old resident of Woodbriar Health Center in Wilmington, Mass. The 21-year-old CNA was operating the lift without assistance, a safety requirement violation to have a minimum of two people. Meuse was allegedly placed in the lift improperly, causing her to slip out, fall and break both her legs, according to a report the nursing home filed with Massachusetts regulators.

She died two days later. Meuse’s death certificate states she died as a direct result of her injuries and noted she was taking blood-thinners for heart problems, according to The Boston Globe.

Nearly six percent of Woodbriar’s residents suffered a fall resulting in a major injury, compared to 3 percent of nursing home residents statewide between Oct. 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015, according to data from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid.

Related: Complaints about 11 Mass. nursing homes

Synergy purchased the facility in March 2015. The company owns 11 facilities in the state and is licensed to care for more than 1,200 residents where a number of reports of substandard care have surfaced along with citations by state inspectors.

Synergy declined to comment about the accident or the nursing home’s policy for using mechanical lifts to The Boston Globe.

Read more: New bill aims to eliminate manual lifting

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