Two state agencies investigating Purcell nursing home

Tuesday, October 10th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PURCELL, Okla. (AP) -- The family of a woman alleges she died because she was not taken to the hospital until three days after being injured in a fall at a McClain County nursing home.

The Oklahoma Department of Health and the state Attorney General's office are investigating the case of Ruth Green, who suffered a blow to her head and a cut above her left eye from a fall Sept. 18.

Green's relatives insist the 90-year-old woman, who also suffered from dementia, should have been taken immediately to the Purcell Municipal Hospital for treatment.

David Wadley, the owner of the 64-resident Wadley Care Center, denies that his employees did anything wrong.

Administrators said the woman acted relatively normal after the fall. She was admitted to the hospital Sept. 21 after a rise in her blood pressure. The woman died Sept. 28 at the Purcell hospital after being in a coma for several days.

"I'm devastated. The people taking care of her were not compassionate," Carl Ellison, Green's grandson-in-law, said Monday. "I would hate to see this happen to anyone in a nursing home."

Wadley said he invites any investigation of him or his staff.

"That's fine with me. Bring them on. I have the best-run nursing home in the state," he said.

Rhonda Wadley, Wadley's sister-in-law, is administrator of the Purcell nursing home. The Wadley family also has a funeral home in Purcell.

Ellison said that Purcell nursing home officials either should have called a physician to evaluate Green or should have taken her to the hospital.

The 72-hour wait probably was the difference between life and death, he said.

"She should have been taken to the hospital much sooner," he said.

According to a death certificate signed by Purcell physician Dr.

Rick R. Schmidt, the cause of Green's death was a large blood clot.

Attempts to reach Schmidt on Monday were unsuccessful.

Ellison said his family previously never suspected abuse or mistreatment of Green at the Purcell nursing home. Green was a patient there for four years.

"How could this woman have a fall and the nursing home not have the time or the compassion to seek additional care for her?"

Ellison asked.

Wadley said family members and Schmidt, the woman's physician, were contacted after the fall. Schmidt was faxed details of the woman's condition, but no reply was received by nursing home staff, Wadley said.

Green was walking around the nursing home and eating normally on Sept. 19 and Sept. 20, Wadley said.

"Her vital signs were not out of line," Wadley said.

When her blood pressure rose Sept. 21, she was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Wadley owns the Purcell ambulance service.

The woman's relatives have hired the Stipe law firm to look into the case.

"We have been retained. We're still investigating, but I would anticipate a lawsuit being filed in the near future," said attorney Tony Edwards of McAlester.

Green was a former laundry worker at a state facility in Pauls Valley.