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Special Investigation – Candida Auris (Phoenix Rehabilitation and Palm Gardens Center)

Special Investigation – Candida Auris (Phoenix Rehabilitation and Palm Gardens Center)

Important Candida Auris Notice for Residents of Phoenix Rehabilitation & Nursing Center and the Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

The nursing home abuse lawyers at Mahany Law are investigating a deadly outbreak of Candida Auris at two New York nursing homes, The Phoenix Rehabilitation & Nursing Center and the Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Previously we informed readers about the deadly fungus called Candida Auris. Until 2009, this fungus wasn’t even known. Since it came to the United States in 2015, already 800 people here have been infected. Most are dead within 90 days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls it a global health threat.

What We Know about Candida Auris

Thus far, there have been no breakthroughs in the treatment of patients suffering from Candida Auris. Scientists say it is a “superbug” meaning it is highly resistant to most treatment options. That is why the rare fungus has such a high mortality rate.

Symptoms typically include chills and fever. A lab test can confirm the infection.

The fungus causes local infections, particularly among those with compromised immune systems. That is why it is such a huge risk for both hospital patients and nursing home residents. If the infection moves to the heart, brain or blood it is typically fatal.

Although the CDC and the affected state health departments have not released the names of the entities with outbreaks, we believe most cases are confined to nursing homes. Hospitals typically enjoy better staffing and better trained staff. Good sanitation goes hand in hand with preventing the spread of disease. In the case of Candida Auris, the fungus is spread by physical contact. Preventing the spread of this deadly killer can be as simple as washing hands between patients and before touching ventilators, wound dressings and the like.

Phoenix Rehabilitation & Nursing Center – Brooklyn NY

Sources tell us one of the facilities dealing with an outbreak of deadly Candida Auris is the Phoenix Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Brooklyn. According to their website, this 400 bed for profit facility claims their unique experience “enlivens” their “guests’ physical and emotional strength through cutting-edge technology and highly trained healthcare professionals to get them back to their fullest potential...”

According to Medicare, the facility has an overall grade of “average.” For staffing, however, it ranked “much below average” (the lowest possible rating).

In its most recent inspection, officials noted:

Based on observation and staff interview, the facility did not ensure that housekeeping and maintenance services were maintained to provide a sanitary interior. Specifically resident care equipment such as; Tube feeding pumps, poles and attached cords on multiple units were found to be soiled. This was evident for 12 of 19 feeding pumps observed in multiple rooms throughout the facility.”

This is exactly how Candida Auris spreads.

Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation

A New York Times investigative report has identified another nursing home allegedly battling a Candida Auris outbreak. Also located in Brooklyn, several residents of the 240 bed Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation have reportedly been infected by Candida Auris.

Like the Phoenix, Palm Gardens also suffers from below average staffing according to Medicare.

There is nothing in the inspection reports regarding Candida Auris, although we found a shocking revelation regarding the death of two patients. According to the inspection report:

“Based on staff interviews and record review conducted during an abbreviated and partial extended survey, the facility did not ensure that all alleged violations involving neglect are reported within a timely manner to the facility Administrator and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). In addition, the facility did not ensure that local law enforcement was informed of suspicion of a crime.

Specifically, Resident #1 and Resident #2 had an Operational Verification Procedure (OVP, also known as circuit check), that was performed on their ventilators on [DATE]. The residents were found unresponsive and were pronounced dead at the facility within 10 minutes of each other. The investigation revealed that the mechanical ventilation was not resumed after the OVP. [Editor’s note: It appears from the full report that a respiratory technician tested both machine but failed to turn them back on despite patients depending on them to survive!]

Resident #1 was without ventilation for 1 hour and 20 minutes and Resident #2 was without ventilation for 2 hours and 14 minutes. The Administrator was informed on [DATE] and the Director of Nursing (DON) was informed on [DATE]. The incident was reported to NYSDOH on [DATE] at 5:30 PM. Local law enforcement was not informed.”

Special Candida Auris Alert for New York, New Jersey and Illinois

The CDC wont identify the nursing homes with Candida Auris. We know from published reports and the CDC that the states with the most outbreaks are New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

In March 2019, the CDC reported the following number of cases (historical, not just current cases):

 

New York       334

Illinois             168

New Jersey     116

 

States with isolated cases:

Florida             13

Massachusetts 7

California        4

Texas              4

Maryland        3

Oklahoma       2

Connecticut     1

Indiana            1

Virginia           1

There are a lot more than two nursing homes in New York affected by Candida Auris. And the nursing homes aren’t telling their residents of the dangers.

Seeking Nursing Home Victims of Candida Auris and Nursing Home Workers

We are actively seeking out families of loved ones who have suffered or died because of Candida Auris. No nursing home can prevent an isolated case of a superbug. The transmission from patient to patient is easily preventable, however.

Certainly, we believe that the infection has spread through both the Phoenix Rehabilitation & Nursing Center and the Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. While every case is unique, we are ready to investigate outbreak cases anywhere in the nation. If the infection can likely be traced to poor sanitation, failure to test or understaffing, you may have a claim for damages.

People go to nursing homes and rehabilitation centers to either get better or spend their final years in reasonable comfort. They don’t go to die from something easily preventable. In the case of the Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, they also anticipate that someone may forget to flip the switch on their respirator.

For more information, we urge family members to visit our nursing home abuse page. Ready to see if you have a case? Contact us online, by email [hidden email] or by phone at 833-201-1555. There is no obligation and we never charge a fee unless we win.

Are you a healthcare professional working in a nursing home? We always appreciate a head’s up on unsafe conditions, stage 3 and 4 bedsores and outbreaks of Candida Auris. Sometimes we may be able to help you collect a cash whistleblower reward. Mostly, however, we use the information to expose the wrongdoing and protect patients. (And we won’t use your name.) Our contact information is above.

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