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    Wednesday, September 27, 2023

    Old Saybrook rehab facility fined $10K after patient killed in attack, records show

    Old Saybrook — Apple Rehab Saybrook was fined $10,000 and required to update policies after an 87-year-old patient died following an attack at the nursing home, state records show.

    The skilled nursing facility on Boston Post Road is also being sued by the daughter of Edward Flynn who she said wrongfully died because staff failed to protect him from another resident, according to court documents.

    The incident occurred on June 2, 2022, when Flynn returned to his room and found another resident leaving after turning off his television, according to a regulatory report filed by the state Department of Public Health following a several day inspection of the facility.

    Witnesses reported that Flynn and the other man, who was 60 at the time, had a verbal altercation that led to the younger man pushing the 87-year-old's walker, the report said. Flynn fell on the floor, breaking bones in his neck, DPH documents showed. He was taken to a hospital and then transferred for surgery to implant a steel rod in his spine, documents said. He died on June 17, 2022, according to the DPH.

    His death was a "homicide" caused by complications of blunt-force trauma to the neck, according to the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

    Old Saybrook police did not respond about whether they are investigating Flynn's death.

    In an email Tuesday, a representative from the rehab facility denied any wrongdoing.

    "This case is in litigation and that we deny any and all allegations against Saybrook Health Care Center related to this matter," said attorney Christian B. Shelton, representing Apple Health Care Inc.

    DPH inspections conducted in the days after Flynn's death show the home was cited for several violations, including having no clear policy on how to keep other patients from "jeopardy" after an attack, reports show. The home also had not trained staff on who to contact after an incident and how to document incidents of abuse, records show.

    The facility "failed" to develop and implement a "comprehensive care plan for a resident with known hearing difficulties" who kept his television loud, DPH officials said.

    Flynn and the other man had been arguing for two weeks over the volume of the television, but the facility didn't address the situation, according to a citation letter sent to Apple Rehab in September 2022 based on the inspections.

    The administrator of Apple Rehab Saybrook did not provide any instruction to staff after the incident on what to do in similar situations and a licensed nurse practitioner was not provided with instructions on how to monitor the 60-year-old who pushed Flynn, the letter said.

    Because the 60-year-old was regretful and there had been no other incidents of violence, the administrator told DPH officials they "did not feel it was necessary to put any other interventions in place to ensure the protection of other residents," the document said.

    The facility was fined $10,000 and required to train staff on how to properly respond to similar incidents, including monitoring the aggressor in an attack, the letter said. Apple Rehab was also required to submit a plan to the DPH to correct the violations.

    The lawsuit filed by Lee-Ann Flynn against Apple Rehab Saybrook claimed the facility failed to notify police about the ongoing dispute between her father and the other resident and failed to take action, including moving their rooms farther apart.

    The lawsuit contends Flynn's death was a direct result of the "negligence" of Apple Rehab, which was operating the home short-staffed and didn't provide a "reasonably safe environment for their residents," including her father.

    Attorney Theodore Heiser, representing Lee-Ann Flynn in the lawsuit, was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

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