A Cook County Grand Jury returned indictments last week charging Forest Park L.L.C. and Care Centers, Inc., the licensee and owner of the Pavillion of Forest Park nursing home, with multiple felony counts of Gross Neglect of a Long Term Care Facility Resident.
According to a press release from Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office, the charges stem from an investigation which began in 2002, after emergency personnel at Loyola Medical Center contacted the Department of Public Health about the condition of a patient transferred to the hospital. The 48-year-old cancer patient was discovered to have a large area of decubitus ulcers, commonly known as bed sores. The patient died Sept. 11, 2002.
The indictments charge Jason Garti, a former medical director and wound care doctor at Pavillion, with multiple counts of Gross Neglect, a Class 4 felony punishable by one to three years in jail. Forest Park L.L.C. and Care Centers, Inc. face the same charges, and a conviction could result in the closure of the nursing home.
Linda Flaherty, director of Risk Management for Care Centers, said that the company intends to fight the charges.
“We believe the case has no merit and we plan to take a defense position,” she said.
Last week’s indictment is by no means the first time the Pavillion has faced criticism from government and law enforcement. In May, the home was fined $20,000 for two alleged violations of the Nursing Home Care Act.
The first charge stated that the home failed to assess and treat a patient’s knee pain and swelling for five days. The second accused the home of failing to protect a cognitively impaired resident from a resident with a history of sexually inappropriate behavior.
And according to a police report filed with the Forest Park Police Department last Saturday, the current investigation of the home may not be the last.
The report states that Forest Park paramedics responded to a call reporting a death at the home. The seventy-one-year-old patient was found lying cold and stiff by the paramedics, who then requested to see his medical chart.
The chart, according to the report, had not been updated since September 8. Only one nurse was assigned to the floor where the deceased man and 63 other patients lived.
Police also reported finding trays of rotting food left out in the open at the home, and said that several visual and audible call alarms from patients went ignored by nurses and staff on duty.
Director of Nursing Theresa Dahurt allegedly refused at first to turn over the medical chart to police as evidence, questioning why the death was being investigated as a criminal matter, but complied once the Medical Examiner’s office was called and the home was threatened with subpoenas.
Flaherty said she was not familiar with the full list of charges made in the police report, but that the medical chart was a non-issue. Patients’ records, she said, are updated on different charts by different types of personnel.
“During the time in question the resident was being provided care,” Flaherty said.
According to the report, police were later provided with some record of care given to the patient between September 8 and 11, though there was still very little recorded interaction from staff shown on the day of his death.
The majority owners of Pavillion are Melissa, William, Daniel and Rachel Rothner, each of whom own a 15.9 percent stake.
Other nursing homes owned at least in part by the Rothners include Pinnacle Health Care centers in both Berwyn and LaGrange, Lakewood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and Washington Heights Nursing Home, among several others.
The Pavillion of Forest Park is located at 8200 W. Roosevelt Rd.