Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Thursday, April 15, 1999


The largest nursing home settlement in Texas history

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn reported a record settlement of $172,500 in a civil penalties case filed against the Kenwood Nursing Home in Duncanville, near Dallas. A Texas Department of Human Services (TDHS) investigation of the nursing home revealed serious and numerous violations of the Health and Safety Code.

"The nursing homes that abuse our most vulnerable Texans will not be tolerated," said Cornyn.

The TDHS investigation concluded that the facility violated minimum standards relating to care, nutrition, infection control, nurse aide training, and equipment, plus numerous other violations which threatened the health and safety of the residents. In all, there were thirteen violations cited by TDHS.

The most egregious violations involved a totally dependent quadriplegic resident who, while under the care and control of the facility, was seriously underfed and suffered severe weight loss. The lack of care for this patient was so extreme that she was found gnawing on her hand. Investigators determined that she had lost 13 percent of her weight in one month, a serious threat to her health.

The investigators further determined that the staff nurses' procedures improperly treated and cared for pressure sores. For example, when she first came to Kenwood Nursing Home, the same quadriplegic resident had two pressure sores at the base of her spine and on her right heel which were exposed wounds to the bone. By the time of the investigation, approximately five weeks later, she had developed nine more pressure sores.

This facility had also been cited and sued for violations of minimum health and safety standards in 1997 and in 1998. In 1998, the lawsuit was based on a complaint alleging violations that may have contributed to the deaths of two residents at Kenwood Nursing Home. Each of those lawsuits is presently pending, one in Travis County and one in Dallas County.

The suit was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Matt Rienstra and Nancy Shellhorse.

- 30 -

Contact Ted Delisi, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050