SNF fined $120,000 for not notifying doctor of resident's heart attack

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An Illinois skilled nursing facility is facing nearly $120,000 in state and federal fines after health officials said it failed to notify a doctor of a resident's heart attack.

A report from the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services detailing the August incident showed the Cumberland Rehab & Health Care Center resident — who survived  — had complained of chest pains to three different nurses. The resident also reported that her call light at the Greenup, IL facility wasn't working, and that she had to yell or help.

“I knew something was going on with my heart but no one would listen,” the resident recalled in the report, detailed Monday in a story from the Effingham Daily News. “The nurse told me very hatefully that just because I wanted to go to the hospital doesn't mean I could go."

Employees also reportedly told state investigators that the resident was a “known complainer.”

The resident was eventually given pain medication, and was transported to the emergency room the next day. The “horrific” delay in treatment could have killed the resident, the emergency room physician said.

State health officials were tipped off about the incident by a confidential complaint, the Daily News reported.

“We strive to provide quality healthcare to all of the residents of our surrounding communities," Katie Hanner, administrator for Cumberland, said in a statement to the Daily News. “We provide ongoing training to our staff and will continue to train and supervise them. As always, the overall experience of our patients is important to us and we will continue to be a proud healthcare partner in the community."

In addition to the fines, Cumberland will also be required to retrain staff on when it's appropriate to notify a doctor about a change in a resident's conditions, as well as how to perform pain assessments and obtain medication after hours. The facility's nursing management must also now review residents' records to determine if notifying a physician was necessary, and if one was called.