Ohio Attorney General David Yost announced Thursday that seven nurses from Whetstone Gardens and Care Center, a Columbus nursing home, have been indicted on 34 combined charges including gross patient neglect and involuntary manslaughter, according to CNN.
One was a contract nurse practitioner, the other six were employees in 2017 when one patient suffered physical harm and another died, both due to neglect.
A male patient experiencing a medical emergency died from septic shock because nurses had waited too long to send him to the hospital. Septic shock is a potentially life-threatening complication of serious infection in which blood pressure drops so low that organs fail to receive adequate blood flow.
“This man literally rotted to death and it could have been prevented,” Yost said in a press conference. According to Newsweek, the man suffered from gangrenous wounds and necrotic (dead) tissue before passing away on March 5, 2017.
Nurses are also accused of falsifying medical records to indicate care that was never delivered to a now-deceased female patient, and of forging signatures. These records indicate that the patient received care on days that she wasn’t at the nursing home, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
According to Whetstone spokesman Ryan Stubenrauch, four nurses accused of forgery were immediately fired and two accused of manslaughter (assistant director of nursing Sandra Blazer, and unit manager and floor nurse Jessica Caldwell) have been suspended. Contract nurse Kimberly Potter, also facing manslaughter charges, no longer works at Whetstone. Several employees who cared for the two patients but were not indicted have also been fired, Stubenrauch said.
Stubenrauch expressed regret to CNN over what transpired while insisting that the man’s death was not due to neglect.