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Ohio Valley, West Virginia

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Day Shelter Cited for Deficiencies

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In a case of nursing care negligence, a 22-year-old Sissonville man who suffered from severe disabilities died after choking on a hot dog for approximately 45 minutes. At the time of the incident, the man was at West Sattes Day Program, a day shelter facility for disabled adults located in Nitro, West Virginia.

According to the report of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, the employee responsible for oversight of the man at the time of the incident had not been trained to care for the man or in appropriate CPR techniques, and had only recently been released from prison after serving time for aggravated robbery. Additionally, the shelter’s employees apparently ignored medical records indicating that the man could not swallow solid food. Finally, and perhaps most shockingly, employees of the shelter carried the man nearly 200 feet through the facility, which delayed his treatment, and the telephone in the facility was not working. Kanawha County ambulance officials arrived on the scene approximately one minute after a call was received from an employee’s personal cell phone, but the call was not made until the man had been choking for some time.

The Deaf Education and Advocacy Focus of West Virginia, known as DEAF, operated the West Sattes facility. The State revoked DEAF’s license, but the West Sattes facility, which served approximately 50 disabled individuals initially remained open. In late April, the West Sattes facility and another DEAF facility in Boone County were closed, and their clients transferred to other programs.