Man Claims Rehab Center Killed Spouse

LAS VEGAS (CN) – A “chronically underperforming” health-care center in Nevada killed a man by treating him for diabetes though he was not diabetic, his spouse claims in court.
     Steven Hansen-Raymen sued Lake Mead Health and Rehabilitation Center, of Henderson, on May 7 in Clark County Court. He claims the center killed his spouse, Richard Hansen-Raymen, by giving him long-acting medicine for diabetes despite being told that he was not diabetic.
     Hansen-Raymen claims that the center was on a “federal watch list” as a “chronically underperforming” health center that “exhibited a pattern of serious problems that persisted over a long period of time.”
     He says doctors never evaluated Richard when he arrived and that a nurse “without any explanation or basis listed Richard as a diabetic who required regular doses of Levemir.” Levemir is a “long-acting form of insulin” that, if administered unnecessarily, can cause patients to develop “dangerously low levels” of blood sugar, according to the complaint.
     Hansen-Raymen says the center was put on the watch list in November 2012, more than a year before his partner was admitted, and that after 29 months on the list, federal authorities determined that “Lake Mead was ‘not improved’ and had ‘failed to show significant improvement despite having the opportunity [to do so].” (Brackets in complaint.)
     “In short,” the lawsuit continues, “defendants have operated Lake Mead under a policy of what can only be described as ‘slumlord healthcare.'”
     Hansen-Raymen claims that the defendant officials in charge of the center were “on notice of the consistently negligent and substandard practices at Lake Mead long before Richard was ever admitted to the facility and have continued the same despicable conduct long after Richard’s death.”
     He says Richard was hospitalized at Spring Valley Hospital for a month in April 2014, where he was treated for colitis, brain lesions and HIV.
     While at the hospital, Richard developed high blood sugar levels and was given insulin and occasionally Levemir to reduce his blood sugar level, Hansen-Raymen says.
     At Spring Valley Hospital, Richard’s blood sugar level stabilized, and he no longer was given insulin or Levemir, according to the complaint. When his health improved, he was transferred to the Lake Mead Health and Rehabilitation Center, in May 2014.
     After the nurse misdiagnosed Richard as diabetic and put him back on Levemir, Hansen-Raymen claims, he went from having a normal blood sugar level to a dangerously low one and “suffered a severe hypoglycemic episode,” on his third day at Lake Mead.
     A laboratory noted Richard’s blood sugar level was dangerously low and reported it to the center, but its staff did nothing to correct medical emergency, Hansen-Raymen says. A nurse notified Richard’s doctor that he had a “life-threatening” low blood sugar level, but the center continued to give him Levemir, according to the lawsuit.
     Hansen-Raymen says he told a nurse Richard was not diabetic, “explicitly warned” her Levemir was not needed and then called the center to tell it that Levemir was not needed, but it kept giving him the medicine.
     Richard suffered another hypoglycemic episode and died on May 27, 2014, Hansen-Raymen says.
     He claims that a state investigation showed the care Richard received at the center “was substandard in the extreme.”
     He seeks punitive damages for medical malpractice, wrongful death and negligence.
     He is represented by Samuel Mirkovich with of the Campbell & Williams, of Las Vegas, who did not return a call seeking comment.
     Officials at the Lake Mead Health and Rehabilitation Center could not be reached for comment.

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