KIYC: State facility where children died recently cited for health deficiencies

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HASKELL -

The facility where seven New Jersey children died from an outbreak of adenovirus was recently cited for a half dozen health deficiencies, including three that were directly related to safety and infection control, federal inspection records show.

The records, reviewed by Kane In Your Corner, show the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation failed to address those deficiencies within 10 days, as required by federal regulations. In fact, one was not corrected until Oct. 19, after the outbreak had already resulted in fatalities.

The inspection record, dated Aug. 20, is on file with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. The six deficiencies are higher than the state average of 4.2, but lower than the national average of 7.5.

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Several violations directly related to safety and infection control procedures, including improper procedures in the care of a urinary catheter, old carpeting not being thoroughly cleaned, and a nurse neglecting to wash her hands after picking a pill up off the floor. 

Inspectors gave the facility a rating of 2 out of 4, which is interpreted as “minimal or potential harm.” 

However, the risk of harm at the Haskell facility could have been significantly greater, because of the vulnerability of the children being treated there. The New Jersey Department of Health says adenovirus is rarely fatal to people with healthy immune systems, but in this case, it was “affecting medically fragile children with severely compromised immune systems."

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