A resident at a city-owned nursing home in Northeast Washington died after falling out the window of his second-story room, The Washington Post has learned.
Ira Glenn, 90, a former maintenance man at Georgetown University, died at the Washington Hospital Center on April 23, three hours after he broke his leg and hip after falling out of a window at the Washington Center for Aging Services.
A city medical examiner ruled that the death was accidental.
Elliot Roth, the home's administrator, said that Glenn apparently lifted the window and a window screen "and fell out."
But Glenn's daughter, Ruth Livingston, 58, said that her father was too frail to be able to raise a window.
"My father was weak in his hands," said Livingston, who is employed as a house cleaner. "He couldn't hardly get out of bed without help. He was confused and couldn't see well . . . . I think the window and screen had to have been opened earlier."
The home is operated under a city contract by Excepticon, an Indianapolis subsidiary of The Forum Group, a health care company that runs nursing homes.
Roth, who is an employe of Excepticon, said that the incident occurred about 7:30 p.m.
"An aide on the first floor heard a noise and heard him call out," Roth said. "When a supervisor got to his side, he was speaking. He was amazingly coherent. He was able to tell us, 'I was looking out and fell out.' "
Homicide detective Tom Arnold, who investigated the death for the city, said officials at the nursing home told him that Glenn could have lifted the screen.
"We felt we took all reasonable steps to protect the residents," said Roth. "We are not negligent."
After Glenn's death, the home asked for approval from the D.C. Fire Department to modify the windows to prevent them from being opened more than 10 inches, Roth said.
"We weren't allowed to do that prior to the death due to fire department regulations," he explained.
Roth said that the windows in Glenn's section of the home were of the older, sash type and probably were installed in the 1940s.
The 248-bed nursing home, built by the Lutheran Church in 1914, was bought by the city in 1981 and was granted several exemptions from federal and city physical requirements during its remodeling.
Several of the variances still are in effect at the home, which remains under renovation.
According to city licensing records, none of the exemptions apply to the windows.
Variances were granted in order to allow the home to open in November 1980, when the city was leasing the facility.
City officials were anxious to open the home quickly in order to house residents who were living in D.C. General Hospital because there was a shortage of nursing home beds.
Another resident of the home suffered serious injury a month before Glenn's death.
On March 14, the home fired a nursing assistant on the night shift after a 61-year-old resident was burned in a shower while the assistant verbally abused her, according to Veronica Pace, director of the D.C. Office on Aging, which is the city agency responsible for the home.
The resident, Catherine Bicksler, was hospitalized for two weeks with second-degree burns.
The city agency that licenses the home, the Service Facility Regulation Administration, has investigated both incidents but has not issued any report.
Livingston, Glenn's daughter, said she is upset that she knows so little about her father's death and that she was not permitted to get one of her father's suits in which to bury him.
"I had to buy one at the Salvation Army," she said. "They wouldn't let me in his room."
Roth said that a suit had been available, but there was a "communication problem with the staff."
"We were not holding it back . . . . We're very sorry and upset about what happened," Roth added.