Escondido Nursing Center received the state’s most severe citation – a AA – after the choking death of an elderly resident. According to reports, the 180-bed facility failed to modify the resident’s nutrition plan after his physician placed him on a special diet because of chewing and swallowing difficulties. During lunch on November 30, 2008, the resident suffocated when food got stuck in his wind pile. He had been given beef and carrots.
Class AA citations are relatively rare in California, with only about 20 being issued annually. In our view, this isn’t enough. As nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys, we have investigated numerous horrendous cases of neglect similar to this one (actually, many are worse), where an investigation is completed by the California Department of Public Health and no citation is issued. This may be a good sign that the new leadership at CDPH is changing the culture and encouraging the department to be more willing to enforce California state law as the people expect.