An employee at a Florida assisted living community is under investigation after authorities charged her with neglect for not dialing 911 in response to a resident’s distress, local CBS News Tampa-Sarasota reports.
The Florida Attorney General’s Office is leading the investigation of Rachel Mobley, 22, a current employee at Grace Manor at Lake Morton in Lakeland, FL, who was charged last week with neglect of an elderly person as a result of an incident that occurred April 2013.
The episode occurred when Grace Manor resident Charles Burrows complained of a “sharp stabbing pain in his eye” to employees. When community staff had been alerted, they relayed the events to Mobley, who was a resident care coordinator at the time.
Mobley allegedly “declined to approve transport to the hospital,” despite the man’s condition and the employees’ repeated requests. Several hours later, one employee had decided to phone 911 anyway.
Additionally, Mobley also directed employees not to give Burrows his prescribed medication, stated she “did not have the authority to violate the orders of the doctor.”
The paramedics that arrived on scene then determined that Burrows had been suffering from a stoke, making the damage done irreversible due to the amount of time that had passed before the 911 phone call was made. Burrows had died later that morning, according to a statement of deficiencies filed with Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).
“We at Grace Manor are stunned at the arrest of Ms. Mobey and the way this matter has been handled,” stated Sara Brady, a spokeswoman for Grace Manor. “From the beginning, we have cooperated fully with investigators over the past year and were led to believe the matter was coming to resolution. The facts clearly show that Grace Manor personnel complied with the expressed wishes of the resident’s family. There simply was no neglect. We are shocked by this sudden turn of events, which include violating the privacy of the resident’s surviving family.”
Burrows’ family was “adamant” about not sending him to the hospital—not specifically about the occurrence April 2013, but when discussing previous events, according to the AHCA records that cited an interview with Grace Manor’s executive director.
An Emergency Department note dated the day of Burrows’ passing revealed that emergency medical services reported that the family was “not thrilled” with the idea of the resident being transported to the hospital.
“Our priority is to ensure the well-being of and to comply with the wishes of our residents and their families in their most critical hours,” Brady stated. “We have earned our reputation for providing superior health care and compassion. And we remain committed to protecting resident and family rights, including their right to privacy. We believe the court will agree with us that the allegations against Ms. Mobley are without merit.”
Two sections of Grace Manor’s assisted living policy and procedure manual indicate that the facility administrator should be contacted immediately and that this individual makes the determination of the severity of the situation, as noted in the AHCA record. A third section of the manual indicates that the community summons emergency medical services by calling 911, when the resident “exhibits signs of symptoms of distress and/or emergency condition.”
“One example included was sudden onset of severe pain,” AHCA records stated on the matter. “[Burrows] had indicated to staff that he felt like a hot rod was stabbing through his eye, but medical care was still delayed for hours.”
Since Burrows’ death, Mobley has since been bonded out of jail and is on paid administrative leave at Grace Manor, Brady told SHN.
Read more at the local CBS News outlet.
Editors note: This article has been updated since its original publication to more accurately reflect input from Grace Manor.
Written by Jason Oliva