A caregiver at a western Minnesota nursing home has been charged with manslaughter and criminal neglect in connection with the death last year of a 100-year-old resident who died from injuries she suffered after falling from a mechanical lift.
Francisco Javier Ramirez, 29, of Renville, a nursing assistant at the Good Samaritan Society nursing home in Redwood Falls, was transferring the woman out of a bathtub using a mechanical lift chair but failed to follow correct procedures. The resident slid out of the chair — which was raised to its highest level of about 5 feet — and then sustained multiple fractures. The fall was so severe that the woman's left foot was almost detached from her leg, and the bones of her left leg were visible, according to a Minnesota Department of Health investigation last year of the incident. When she was found, pools of blood had formed around the woman's ankle and she was complaining of knee and neck pain, the report said.
After the fall, Ramirez again violated safety protocols by moving the resident away from the door by pulling on her gown, and then leaving her alone in the bathroom as he went to get help, state investigators found.
The resident, Evelyn Augusta Schweim, died on Sept. 17 from complications of multiple skeletal fractures resulting from the fall.
The state Health Department investigation concluded that Ramirez violated multiple safety protocols and was responsible for neglect. The violations include failing to obtain assistance from a second staff person, as required; failing to operate the mechanical lift properly; and leaving the resident alone in the bathroom instead of using his phone or walkie-talkie to call for help. Ramirez also violated protocol by raising the woman to the highest level on the lift. Standard procedure was to lift the chair no higher than 1 to 2 feet, according to the criminal complaint.
Ramirez was immediately suspended by the facility.
The Redwood Falls Police Department reviewed the facility's records and determined that Ramirez had been trained on protocols for the use of mechanical lifts in July 2014 and again in August 2017.
Ramirez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, two counts of criminal neglect and one count of mistreatment of patients. He is expected to make his initial court appearance June 25.
Chris Serres • 612-673-4308 Twitter: @chrisserres