Administrators sued, computer malfunction cited in nursing home resident death

A Minnesota county-owned nursing home, two administrators and an unidentified employee are being sued by the family of a former resident who say a lapse in care caused her aspiration and death.

The family of Theresa Rotter, who died in 2013, filed a civil rights lawsuit against Ramsey County Care Center in St. Paul, MN. Two top officials of the facility and one unidentified employee were named as co-defendants in the suit, filed Monday.

Rotter's family says she required a special pureed diet because she had no teeth and a history of inhaling food. On Easter 2013, Rotter's meal tray ticket failed to show that she needed pureed food, according to a report from the state health department. She was given solid food by the unidentified employee, which she partially inhaled. Rotter died the next day; her death certificate listed her cause of death as sepsis in her lungs.

The lawsuit claims the computer system the facility used to generate and print instructions for staff did not work on holidays, according to the Pioneer Press. While the facility typically had another employee to audit the care plans, that employee did not work on weekends.

Rotter's family also claims the facility's administrator Steven Fritzke and nursing director Joleen Magee were aware of the computer issues and did nothing to solve them.

Ramsey County officials are declining to comment on the ongoing litigation, a spokesman told the Pioneer Press.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Ramsey County, including medical and funeral expenses.