Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Investigation Continues Regarding Negligence in Death at United Medical Center’s Nursing Home in D.C.

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Nov 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

Warren Webb, a 47-year-old AIDS patient, died unexpectedly at United Medical Center's (UMC) Nursing Home. Webb allegedly lay on the floor in a pool of his own waste for nearly 20 minutes as a nurse argued with his roommate. This is the most recent of several claims of mistreatment at the lone public hospital in the Washington D.C. region. 

Webb was said to have called out for staff indicating that he was having trouble breathing. A nurse responded and lowered the height of the bed causing him to roll onto the floor, jarring his diaper loose. After staff was finally able to position him back in bed, they discovered he was not breathing. UMC employees were disciplined for what is believed to have been a failure to execute proper “lifesaving protocols”. His mother, Tujuana Bigelow, explained her son was admitted to the skilled facility after detection of a brain mass and his exhibiting symptoms of stroke.

Health Department Inquiry

One of the nurses involved in the incident was fired; however, regulators did not receive a timely report regarding the details of the death. Staff are further accused of concealing the series of events that occurred prior to Webb's death. The D.C. Health Department has now reported that the cause of death was a heart attack, but cannot confirm whether abuse or neglect contributed to the outcome. 

Jasmine Gossett, a department spokesperson, says a thorough inquiry is underway in collaboration with The Joint Commission. The Washington Post was unable to obtain some additionally requested information due to regulations that protect the privacy of residents and staff. The medical center has been under the supervision of a consulting firm for over one year now in hopes of improving care and conditions at the facility.

Hospital's Birth Delivery & Nursery Department Closure

UMC is the biggest medical center serving low-income residents of Washington and Maryland's Prince George County. Recently the nursery and delivery unit were unexpectedly closed after reports of medical mishaps involving mothers and newborns. The facility is currently doing business as The Not-for-Profit Hospital Corporation and was the first hospital in the area to open an internal skilled nursing facility. Baye Webb, Warren's father, alleges that nursing staff are not disclosing critical information about the death; in particular, why his son was left on the floor near his bed unassisted--despite repeated calls for help.

Nursing Home Administrator Takes Action

Webb's mother noticed his steady decline while residing at the facility, citing his ability to walk when initially admitted. She had witnessed the nursing staff's slow responses to his call alert signal and claims they ordered him to wear diapers shortly after arriving. Gregory Gary, Webb's roommate, says he spoke to Peter Offor, a nurse on staff, preceding his death to request assistance. Gary insists that employees failed to properly position Webb to allow for him to better breathe during the incident. Stephen Gbenle, the site administrator, confirmed that Offor had been terminated due to his lack of responsiveness.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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