State fines facility in fast-food choking death

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A California facility has been fined $10,000 by the state after a staff member gave a resident on a restricted diet a fast-food hamburger as a special gift and then left him unattended. The 61-year-old man was later found dead, sprawled near a bathroom with an obstructed airway.

Residents at Vallejo's Crestwood Manor were routinely rewarded with fast food for complying with facility rules and care plan guidelines, state investigators said.  A staff member gave the man the hamburger, even though he wasn't supposed to get one, and then left for a work break.

The home's owner, Crestwood Behavioral Health of Stockton, is contesting the state's ruling on the Sept. 22 incident but declined further comment, according to a published report.

The resident was on orders to eat a soft, low salt, low-cholesterol and low-fat diet, state investigators said. He also was not supposed to be eating unsupervised since he was still waiting for his dentures to be fixed, they added. The resident suffered from obstructive lung disease, schizophrenia and high blood pressure.