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Topic: Washington State Department of Social and Health Services

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December 24, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Longview retirement facility faulted in woman’s freezing death

The Associated Press

LONGVIEW — State officials are revoking the operating license of a Washington retirement facility after an 88-year-old woman froze to death in its courtyard earlier this month.

Officials with the state Department of Social and Health Services said staff mistakes and ineffective security measures at Canterbury Gardens Alzheimer Care in Longview are to blame for Norma Sheldon’s death Dec. 6, The Longview Daily News reported.

Sheldon’s body was found in an enclosed, open-air courtyard after staff missed a required hourly bed check at midnight. The Alzheimer’s patient was wearing only a nightgown in the 28-degree weather, the newspaper reported. She died of hypothermia.

“This was a very serious situation,” said Irene Owens, interim director of the state’s residential care services, part of the health services department.

According to the state’s revocation letter, the violations found by investigators “resulted in the death to a resident and put 61 other residents at risk for accidents or injuries.”

The facility can continue to care for its current 57 residents while an appeal takes place, but it can’t accept new patients.

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