A New York nursing home allegedly knew that one of its residents had a tendency to remove safety screws from windows before his deadly fall from a window.
That’s according to local Buffalo, NY, TV news station WIVB, citing a recent state Department of Health report. The allegations stem from the June death of William Strasner, an 87-year-old resident of Emerald South Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, who fashioned a rope and tried to climb out an unsecured third floor window. He fell 34 feet to the parking lot below and died on the way to the hospital.
New records obtained by WIVB found that Emerald South employees allegedly knew about Strasner’s tendency to remove screws from his windows, but they did not take action to prevent it. Records showed that the man had repeatedly removed those devices, with maintenance well aware of those past instances. The safety measures — which keep the window from opening more than six inches — were not in place the morning of June 4 when the resident plummeted to his death, the state found.
“The director of maintenance reported to the interdisciplinary team that a resident, who resided on the third floor of the facility, repeatedly removed screws that prevented the window in his room from opening beyond six inches. The facility failed to implement appropriate interventions and supervision to ensure the resident’s safety,” the TV station reported, citing the state’s statement of deficiency related to his death.
Michael Balboni, a spokesman for Emerald South said Tuesday afternoon that the facility is transitioning to new ownership and “working to make sure everyone is safe and secure” at the nursing home. He noted that the 122-bed facility has been working with the Department of Health for months to develop a plan of corrections, and has provided staff with training and upgraded its facilities. Balboni added that the “immediate jeopardy” that was issued for Strasner’s death “had nothing to do with the fall” and did not include a finding of ongoing threat to its patients.
“Emerald South continues to work every day to ensure the safety and comfort of our residents,” he told McKnight’s in an email.