Searching for Improvements at the Lubbock State School: NewsChannel 11 Investigates - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/15/07

Searching for Improvements at the Lubbock State School: NewsChannel 11 Investigates

NewsChannel 11 went looking for improvements inside the Lubbock State School. That would be hard to do, since we were not granted access to medical records where federal investigators found most of the problems. But we can tell you that since the investigation two years ago, a new superintendent was hired and they "say" they have made progress.  

The Department of Justice investigated the Lubbock State School the week of June 13th 2005. Here is just one of the more "disturbing" incidents they found that year.

Two staff members found a resident "unresponsive around 5 am." "They panicked and failed to initiate CPR."  Those staff members waited "30 minutes" before calling for help.  When EMS arrived, they noticed "rigor mortis to her jaws indicating she died hours earlier." 

The investigation discovered staff had "falsified bed check sheets and the log book," claiming to have "repositioned that same patient at 5:30 am, 5:45, and 6," nearly an hour after she died.

We took the report to the new Lubbock State School superintendent Nancy Condon and wanted to know what the policy is for giving CPR

"When CPR is necessary, staff needs to perform CPR," said Condon.  She says staff is CPR certified and must know the life saving technique to work there.

"Record keeping? Has that improved?" asked NewsChannel 11.

"I think it has. Everybody can improve when it comes to record keeping and documentation. I think that I am very satisfied with the improvements we've made in the area of our documentation," said Condon.

According to the feds 43 page investigation,  the Lubbock State School failed in many areas, like adequate health care services and to protect residents from harm.

These are violations of a federal law called the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

Condon came to Lubbock more than a year ago from the Denton State School. 

"When you started your job, did you feel you had your plate full of thing to improve?," asked NewsChannel 11. 

"Sure, I think any job I've ever had I'm going to go out and find what goals I have and what goals the facility has," said Condon.

The state school has close to 310 residents.  They are people 15 to 75 years-old who can not take care of themselves due to mental and physical disabilities. 

Roseanna and Neil Davidson's 26-year-old daughter has lived at the state school for ten years.

"She has multiple disabilities, cognitive impairment, physical impairment, mild vision and hearing loss," said Roseanna.

Condon arranged for us to speak with this family who says they are pleased with their daughter's care.  

"So it sure is shockingly different from what our experience has been," said Roseanna.

"One of the things that improved when she came here was her asthma and allergies.  They were very troublesome at home.  Since she's been here, they've done a good job medically to improve that," said Neil.

The Davidsons believe the bad report was due mainly to a staffing shortage. The investigation points out "inadequate nursing services relate to the shortcomings in staffing..."

"Have many more nurses been hired in the last 20 months?," asked NewsChannel 11. 

"What has happened, we've begun to use agency nurses.  The state has provided money to do that," said Don Minnis, Supervising nurse.

During that investigation, the DOJ reported 14 vacancies at the state school.

"If the federal government was to come out today, would you get the same inspection you did months ago?," asked NewsChannel 11. 

"I feel like if they came out and visited us today, they would have to note progress," said Condon.  

One of the groups calling for the closure of the Lubbock State School has asked for more than 150 patient medical files.  They want to see if there are any improvements and if there is still a pattern of abuse and neglect.

We contacted the DOJ and they told us they are working with the state school to make sure a resolution is reached.  No date was given when that will be. 

2/14/07
Group To Rally For Lubbock State School Closure
Some advocacy groups for people with disabilities say the Lubbock State School should be shut down.  Next week, they will bring that message to the state legislature.  The Disability Policy Consortium plans to rally on the Capitol steps Monday morning.  As NewsChannel 11's Ben Lawson tells us, their complaints stem from a Department of Justice report that found several inadequacies at the school.

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