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CMS Inspection of Parkland 'Ongoing'; Civil Suit Pending

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, July 2, 2013

Surveyors from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are expected to finish their inspection of Dallas-based Parkland Memorial Hospital later this summer. A civil suit stemming from the death of a patient has been approved to proceed by a federal judge.

The patient death that sparked a federal investigation into Dallas–based Parkland Memorial Hospital could continue to shape the hospital's safety policies long after surveyors from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finish their inspection of facility later this summer.

U.S. District Judge David Godbey issued a 36-page ruling last week that the federal civil suit brought against Parkland by the deceased patient's mother, Jane Pena, may proceed, based on her claims that her son's civil rights were violated.

Pena's son, 49-year old George Cornell, died in a seclusion room at Parkland in February 2011. Cornell had schizophrenia and arrived at the hospital complaining of chest pains. After being admitted, three psychiatric technicians allegedly held Cornell down on the ground of the seclusion room for 15 minutes to administer anti-psychotic drugs, then left him there without being monitored. He later died.

Pena's suit names the three technicians as well as hospital leadership who were ousted after the incident, including former CEO Ron Anderson, MD; former CMO John Jay Shannon, MD; and former nursing director for psychiatric services, Nancy Schierding, RN, MSN.

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