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"Facility fined after man chokes on ketchup packet"

The Bakersfield Californian

BY STACEY SHEPARD, Californian staff writer
Wednesday, Oct 22 2008 5:50 PM

A Bakersfield retirement community is appealing a $100,000 fine from the state – the stiffest fine possible – for the death of a nursing home resident who choked on a ketchup packet in 2006.

The California Department of Public Health issued the fine in July to Glenwood Gardens, 350 Calloway Drive, following an investigation into the death of an 84–year–old man who lived at the facility’s skilled nursing facility. The patient had been diagnosed with dementia and breathing difficulties, and died after choking on a ketchup packet, according to a state investigation. Investigators concluded facility staff knew the patient consistently tried to eat nonedible objects. The report said the Glenwood Gardens staff failed to formulate an effective plan of care to prevent the man from ingesting the ketchup packet.

A mortuary embalmer discovered the packet wedged in the back of the man’s throat.

Glenwood Gardens Executive Director Dave Goodin said the facility filed an appeal after receiving the fine but there has been no further action yet. "There was no grounds we could find for the citation so we’ve appealed," Goodin said.