Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Thursday, February 3, 2000


Action taken against Laurenwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Duncanville

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced the filing of a civil lawsuit against Duncanville Nursing, LTD. and DLEN, Inc. d/b/a Laurenwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Duncanville. The lawsuit was filed at the request of the Texas Department of Human Services (TDHS) which found licensing violations during a complaint investigation last February.

According to the lawsuit, those violations endangered the health and safety of residents at Laurenwood and resulted in the deaths of two residents.

"Abuse and neglect of the elderly will not be tolerated," said Attorney General Cornyn. "I intend to continue fulfilling my commitment to protect those who cannot protect themselves, and cracking down on people who break the law."

One resident died after Laurenwood staff failed to properly care for the resident who was experiencing severe coughing and congestion. The man was given cough syrup and later appeared to be sleeping. Two hours later, a nurse found him gasping for air and his face turning blue. The staff did not call 911 until about 30 minutes after the nurse made her discovery. The man died about an hour after he was taken to the hospital.

Another resident died after falling out of her wheelchair while being moved by a nurse aide. Shortly after the fall, staff notes indicated, the woman was having trouble breathing. Two hours after the woman's fall, the resident's doctor returned calls from Laurenwood that had gone unanswered earlier in the day. He requested that the woman be transported to the hospital. The resident died five days later. TDHS investigators noted that two days prior to the resident's fall, the woman had been complaining of nausea and vomiting. Her condition was never noted in staff notes. Septic shock along with pneumonia were found to be contributing factors to the resident's death.

The Attorney General's lawsuit against Laurenwood asks the court for a jury trial and for civil penalties to be assessed against the defendants up to the maximum of $20,000 per day of violation.

Since Attorney General Cornyn took office, 42 nursing homes have been sued and more than $1.6 million has been collected in civil penalties. The case against Laurenwood was handled by Assistant Attorney General Nancy Shellhorse of the Attorney General's Elder Law and Public Health Division. The lawsuit was filed in Dallas County.

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Contact Mark Heckmann, Heather Browne, or Tom Kelley at (512) 463-2050