Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Companies indicted in nursing home deaths

The Associated Press

        XENIA, Ohio — Two companies have been indicted in the deaths of four nursing home residents mistakenly given nitrogen instead of oxygen, a prosecutor said Monday.

        The company that owns the nursing home, Integrated Health Services, was charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, said Assistant Greene County Prosecutor Craig King.

        A medical gas supplier, BOC Gases, based in Murray Hill, N.J., was charged with four counts of reckless homicide.

        Prosecutors had announced the indictments Friday but had not identified the defendants.

        Four women died and six residents became ill Dec. 7 when a nitrogen tank was accidentally connected to the oxygen system at the Carriage-by-the-Lake nursing home in Bellbrook, about 10 miles from Dayton.

        Both companies said in separate statements that they were disappointed in the charges and that they are continuing to cooperate with authorities.

        If convicted of all counts, each company faces fines of up to $60,000.

        Gayle Waldspurger, whose mother, Pauline Tays, died, said she is pleased with the charges.

        “I'd like majority of the responsibility laid upon the corporations for lack of training and overseeing things,” said Ms. Waldspurger, 48, of Englewood. “It's a wake-up call for them in the sense that they can be criminally charged, that the smaller people aren't necessarily going to be the scapegoats.”


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