LPN found negligent in nursing home resident's seizure death

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A Minnesota licensed practical nurse allegedly ignored a resident's seizures for 11 hours prior to his death, according to a state report released last week.

Kenneth Allers, 58, was receiving treatment at the Sterling Park Health Care Center in Waite Park, MN, last summer when the incident occurred, according to a report from the Minnesota Department of Health. Allers suffered from non-alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver and severe cognitive impairment but had no history of seizures, the report said.

Allers suffered seven seizures over the course of 11 hours on Aug. 7 while the LPN, identified only as “Alleged Perpetrator” in the report, neglected to administer medication, alert a physician about his change in condition, or listen to calls for help from Allers' ex-wife, who was at the facility at the time.

When Allers' ex-wife, Rita O'Byrne, told the LPN that it looked like he was in pain, the nurse reportedly responded “Yes, it does” and then exited the room without saying anything else, according to the department's findings.

Allers only received pain medication after a new nurse came on duty; his seizures stopped soon afterward. Allers died on Aug. 8 of what was later determined to be natural causes.

“The [alleged perpetrator] did not give any explanation as to why she did not contact the physician or seek additional assistance from the on-call registered nurse to ensure the resident received care for a change in condition,” the report reads.

O'Byrne said she and the LPN had disagreed before about the administering of Allers' medication, The Star Tribune reported.

“Apparently, [the LPN] didn't like me confronting her,” O'Byrne said. “I think she was angry with me and took it out on Ken, as sad as that sounds.”

The LPN was suspended while a six-month investigation into the incident was conducted; she was later fired from the facility.

In a statement to local media, Sterling Park Health Care Center said the facility supports the Department of Health's findings as “they substantiate the reasons why we terminated this individual after investigating — and reporting — this tragic incident.”

“The individual in question acted contrary to our policies and procedures and against how we'd hope any person caring for another would act,” the statement said.