Easthampton police arrest Mauricio Velasquez in connection with double fatal accident on Hendrick Street

Police have arrested Mauricio Velasquez, of Springfield, in connection with a car accident that killed his own 3-year-old child and the 71-year-old driver of another vehicle Saturday.

Velasquez, the operator of a white van allegedly traveling at a high rate of speed, was taken to Baystate Medical Center with serious injuries. He was later arrested and charged with drunken driving, two counts of vehicular homicide, two counts of causing serious injury while operating under the influence, a marked lane violation, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, child endangerment while operating under the influence, operating without a license, and one count of having a child under 5-years-old in a car without a car seat, police said.

Police and firefighters are still investigating the crash that occurred in the area of Hendrick Street just after 3:30 p.m. Police say Velasquez allegedly lost control of his vehicle, struck a guardrail and ended up on the opposite side of the road where he collided with blue pick-up truck. Both vehicles suffered extensive damage and firefighers used the Jaws of Life to extricate the victims from the vehicles, police said.

Charles Hoffman, 71, of Easthampton, died in the accident. He was driving the pick-up truck. His 69-year-old female passenger was seriously injured in the accident and was admitted to Baystate Medical Center, according to First Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne of the Northwest District Attorneys office.

A male passenger in the van, whose name and age were not released, was also taken to Baystate Medical Center with serious injuries. The child’s name was not released, Gagne said.

Velasquez was arrested at Baystate Medical Center and is being held on $50,000.00 cash bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Northampton District Court, depending on his medical condition.

Easthampton police, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, and the state police collision analysis and reconstruction section are investigating.


Nursing Home Negligence

Falls in Nursing Homes

Litigators who work with cases involving long term care know how significant the issue of falls can be. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death by injury in adults over 65. Approximately half of the 1.6 million nursing home residents in the U.S. fall each year, and a report by the Office of the Inspector General found that about 10% of Medicare skilled nursing residents experience a fall resulting in significant injury; and, more than 1/3 of hospital falls result in injury. In the rehab setting, rates are often higher – for example, fall rates among stroke patients have been shown to be very high. Immobility and falls can lead to poor outcomes.

Fear of falling is defined as a geriatric syndrome. It not only occurs in older adults who have fallen, but in those with impaired mobility and is associated with decreased physical ability and depression. Care of older adults requires that clinicians be aware of the myriad of issues related to falls including knowledge of this syndrome, increased risk and interventions needed to prevent injury related to falls.

Just about every resident in a long term care setting, including assisted living and sub-acute rehab, is at risk for falling. Between medications, functional and medical issues and advancing age, older adults in most settings are prone to falling.

There are well established standards of care related to fall prevention; but, as I continue to review records related to issues like falls, I am amazed at how often these basic standards are not being practiced. The basics of a fall prevention program include assessment and ongoing reassessment of risk, ensuring a safe environment, medication review, providing therapy as needed, individualized interventions, and staff education.

Basic nursing practice includes assessment, planning (Care plan), putting interventions in place and then evaluating outcomes to determine if those interventions are appropriate and effective. Assessment includes completing fall risk assessments on admission and then as needed. Very often, the fall risk assessments completed by nurses in LTC are inaccurate. The tools utilized in long term care typically include these risk factors: history of falling, use of ambulatory aids, gait/balance issues, medications, secondary diagnoses (i.e. diabetes) and mental status. Care planning is the next step in nursing care - it is the standard of care that as the resident’s status changes, assessments and care plans must be updated, and often, are not. For example, with each fall, there should be updates, or if there is a new diagnosis, i.e. stroke, or worsening dementia, updated interventions should be put into place, with ongoing evaluation of effectiveness.

Care planning and interventions very often are generic and not individualized. For example, a toileting schedule that includes only after meals and before bedtime may not be appropriate. If a resident has issues with constipation or incontinence, this may lead to the need for more frequent toileting to prevent falls. The “make certain call bell is within reach” for residents with dementia is an example of a generic intervention. Older adults with dementia may not recognize a call bell or remember to use it. The debate about use of bed and chair alarms go on – they are a part of an individualized care plan, not a solution to preventing falls. Often, I see delays in putting interventions in place, i.e. with the resident who is incontinent NOT being put on a toileting plan immediately. The other common issue I see when reviewing records is the lack of updating care plans as the resident’s status changes – with every fall, with worsening dementia, physical decline, or new medical diagnosis (i.e. Parkinsonism).

Nurses reviewing records need to pay attention to the MDS, risk assessments, care plans and Interdisciplinary notes with attention to where the standard of care is not being met.
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7 days ago  ·  

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