The state has banned the admission of new patients to a West Baltimore convalescent home after finding lapses in medical care, some of which were "potentially life-threatening," said Michael Golden, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The state ordered the ban last Friday on the Lincoln Convalescent Center Inc., in the 1200 block of W. Fayette St., Golden said. If the home is unable to correct its problems within 90 days, he said, the state will move to decertify it from receiving Medicaid and Medicare funds.
Golden said that during inspections at the home Oct. 29 through Nov. 1, health inspectors found that residents had been given improper medical prescriptions and that one man's dire diagnosis had not been treated seriously.
Ed Eubert, of Harford County, who owns the center with his wife, Mary, and its administrator, Mildred Pipkin, said last night that "we're going to do whatever is necessary"to correct any problems.
"We are conducting an internal investigation," he said, adding that he did not know what may have gone wrong at the center, other than the possibility of lapses in documentation of care from one nursing shift to the next.
Possibly, Eubert said, some treatment was not documented, which would have led the state to assume no treatment was ever given in some cases.
Eubert said that Lincoln has been caring for patients since 1958.
Golden, the spokesman for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said a 72-year-old man admitted to the convalescent center in July with serious medical problems showed a high blood cell count in subsequent tests, but a doctor who worked for the center did nothing about it.
On Aug. 16, the man was vomiting, but the staff was unable to reach the doctor. On the next day, when the man registered a temperature of 101 degrees, Golden said, the staff did reach the doctor, who ordered a dose of Tylenol every four hours. That night, Golden said, as the patient was sweating and vomiting, nurses called 911 and the man was taken to a hospital, where he died shortly afterward.
The home is licensed for 224 beds and currently has 209 residents, Golden said, adding that "we're keeping a close watch on the patients in the facility."
He said his agency is confident that Lincoln will be able to correct its deficiencies. Until now, Golden said, "their track record has been good."