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Posted on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

Maggot infestations cited as example of problems in Michigan nursing homes

By Cindy Heflin

A state advocacy group is calling for more oversight of nursing homes, citing cases of extreme neglect, including one in Washtenaw County, in which maggots infested one patient’s throat and another patient’s catheter.

The non-profit Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service cited the cases in a press release as evidence of severe abuse and neglect in Michigan nursing homes.

But the cases are not typical of the care residents in nursing homes receive, an official with the state agency that regulates nursing homes told Michigan Radio.

Mike Pemble of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs told Michigan Radio the cases are disgusting, but he said, “I don't think it's fair to hold it up and say this is happening in all nursing homes.”

In the Washtenaw County case, nursing home employees discovered maggots in and around the catheter of a female patient, the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service said in the release. “A registered nurse manager was instructed by clinical corporate staff to document the discovery as ‘debridement’ (dead tissue) rather than ‘maggots,’ the release said.

Rhonda Smith, communications specialist with MPAS, declined to provide the name of the nursing home involved.

However, WXYZ-TV is reporting that the incident occured at Whitehall Healthcare Center of Ann Arbor.

In the other incident in Oakland County, maggots obstructed the airway of a woman who had been coughing. Emergency medical personnel discovered the maggots when they began suctioning her airway.

The Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service said the information came from surveys done by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. MPAS is preparing a report it said will highlight “numerous examples of abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities in nursing homes throughout the state.”


Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

bring back the "good old days" when we all died in our 50's. Sadly, as a society we aren't willing to properly deal with our current average life spans.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

Whitehall is on the SFF list (Special Focus Facility (SFF)- these are the worst places that the CMS (medicare/medicaid) have put on notice. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

Thank you.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 12:07 p.m.

The problem is that nurses are spread too thin in nursing facilities. If Consumer Industry Services and the State of Michigan would enforce more reasonable nurse to patient ratios then quality of care would greatly increase.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:39 a.m.

Really makes you wonder if the elderly is getting the constant and quality of care they need! Where are the nurses and patient techs? Maggots infest dead things... not clean and live tissue! I would hope the families of the patients in the article not only sue.. but find better care for their loved ones! I find it simply amazing people can sit back and watch this happen!! Where is the basic human compassion? Going to work in a nursing home would seem that you understand that the job is going to entail that you take care of some not so pleasant things!!!!I guess the next question I have is.. What would this nurses and patient techs say .. if it were one of their loved ones? What would they say or do... would that be aceptable for their family members...

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 9:52 a.m.

Thanks to Michigan Radio and Channel 7 for their investigative reporting.

Mr. Ed

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 3:54 a.m.

The problem is the overall lack of support staff, CNA's. The other issue is training. Please don't ever put me in a nursing home. The places are a business and always lack good pay for trained CNA's. Staffing is and always will be an issue. too many patients and not enough time. The law should be clear. one CNA for every 6 patients. That way you can spend at least an hour with each patient in an 8 hour shift. We take better care of our stray animals than we do our seniors in need of care. Maybe Kevorkian was right. I would rather die than spend time in nursing home purgatory.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 3:17 a.m.

I see that Whitehall Healthcare is mentioned as a possibility for the nursing home with violations in Washtenaw County, but all nursing homes in Michigan with this level of abusive conditions need to be listed specifically for the public's protection and information. It should not be a guessing game.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:20 a.m.

It will be after the Bureau of Child and Adult Licensing completes a formal investigation.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 3:13 a.m.

&quot;The non-profit Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service cited the cases in a press release as evidence of severe abuse and neglect in Michigan nursing homes.&quot; This is horrible. How about naming the specific nursing homes? That would be helpful information. Otherwise, the public is not being informed in a complete manner.

John Hritz

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 3:11 a.m.

This story seems made for the Halloween holiday. Generally maggots eat dead flesh. However poor the care is at a nursing home, the person describing them as maggots was probably not an expert. Ick!! <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

John You need to go back and read the wikipedia definition you cited. It says angler( fisherman) use maggots as bait. Maggots gather on any kind of dead flesh where flies have laid eggs.

Angil Tarach-Ritchey RN, GCM

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 12:48 p.m.

You don't need to be an expert in maggots to recognize them. It is with high probability that the maggots started on the catheter and spread, just as they live in garbage cans. This poor woman was treated no better than a bag of garbage and that is so very sad and such a disgrace I don't know how any of the staff there can live with themselves!