In the days leading up to his death due to a COVID-19 complication, 90-year-old Jack Hawn from Dunlap, Iowa, struggled to breathe.
The father of three and the founder of the Hawn Oil Company, Hawn was a resident of Dunlap Specialty Care, a small Harrison County nursing home that would ultimately claim to have more COVID-19 deaths than any other nursing facility in Iowa.
State records show that staff at Dunlap Specialty Care diagnosed Hawn with COVID-19 on October 6, 2020, and that within a week, 46 of the home’s 48 residents would test positive for the virus.
Hawn’s doctor was concerned enough that he allegedly ordered staff to have Hawn admitted to a local hospital. But a nurse at the home decided that Hawn’s condition was not urgent enough to justify the use of an ambulance. According to state inspectors, she decided to arrange for a Medivac transportation service to take Hawn to the hospital instead.
The nurse later told the inspectors that when she discovered that the Medivac service was too busy, she called one of Hawn’s daughters and told her that if she wanted her father seen by a hospital doctor, she and “two strong men “come and fetch him. up and take him himself there.
The daughter was unable to do so, so Hawn stayed at the nursing home. After two days, his oxygen level dropped to below 80%, and the facility took him by ambulance to a hospital. He died there, five days after admission.
Federal officials fined Dunlap Specialty Care $ 62,283, alleging that the home had failed to take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in part by using employees who had returned to work prematurely. after being diagnosed with the virus.
The home was also charged with failing to provide Hawn with his doctor-ordered care and for failing to use adequate personal protective equipment to curb the spread of the virus.
State records show Hawns ‘doctor told inspectors he was “very upset” over the death, noting that he had instructed the home to immediately send all residents in Hawns’ condition whose family sought medical attention to the hospital. “They should call 911 and send them to the emergency room immediately,” the doctor told inspectors.
Data from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that Dunlap Specialty Care is currently leading the state with resident deaths due to COVID-19. Although it is a small facility with about 48 residents, there have been 36 resident deaths in the home due to the virus during the pandemic, CMS says.
The home is among 18 Iowa nursing homes, each of which has had 20 or more residents die of COVID-19 during the pandemic, according to the CMS. To date, these 18 homes account for 480 COVID-19 deaths in Iowa.
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The federal data, which was recently improved to correct errors and make them more accessible to the public, shows how big a role nursing homes have played in the pandemic. In Iowa, COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes account for 34% of all coronavirus-related deaths nationwide.
The data also show that while some major care facilities have had relatively few outbreaks and infections, smaller homes that may have been relaxed in complying with virus reduction guidelines have been hit hard by the pandemic.
The interim administrator of Dunlap Specialty Care declined to comment on the deaths and referred all questions to the home business owner, Care Initiatives of West Des Moines. Company spokeswoman Tesha Rainey did not respond to calls and emails from the Iowa Capital Dispatch.
In addition to the Dunlap facility, other Care Initiatives homes include a relatively high death rate from COVID-19 Atlantic Specialty Care, with 31 deaths; Northcrest Specialty Care, with 27 deaths; and Ravenwood Specialty Care with 26 deaths.
Here’s a look at the 18 nursing facilities in Iowa to be reported to have at least 20 reported resident deaths due to COVID-19, together with the total number of residents living in the home at the most recent inspection:
Dunlap Specialty Care, Harrison County: 36 deaths, with a occupancy of 48 residents.
Good Samaritan Home of Davenport, Scott County: 32 deaths, with a population of 101 residents.
Great River Care Center, Clayton County: 32 deaths, with a population of 35 residents.
Atlantic Specialty Care, Cass County: 31 deaths, with a population of 68 residents.
Hiawatha Care Center, Linn County: 31 deaths, with a population of 101 residents.
West Ridge Care Center, Linn County: 31 deaths, with a population of 43 residents.
Vista Woods Care Center, Wapello County: 30 deaths, with a population of 37 residents.
Northcrest Specialty Care, Black Hawk County: 27 deaths, with a population of 70 residents.
Ravenwood Specialty Care, Black Hawk County: 26 deaths, with a population of 102 residents.
Luther Manor Communities, Dubuque County: 25 deaths, with a population of 61 residents.
Good Shepherd Health Center, Cerro Gordo County: 24 deaths, with a population of 163 residents.
Azria Health Longview, Harrison County: 24 deaths, with a population of 66 residents.
Good Samaritan Homes in Ottumwa, Wapello County: 23 deaths, with a population of 106 residents.
Good Samaritan Home of Indianola, Warren County: 22 deaths, with a population of 84 residents.
Azria Health Rose Vista, Harrison County: 22 deaths, with a population of 40 residents.
Woodland Terrace, Bremer County: 22 deaths, with a occupancy of 94 residents.
Living Center West, Linn County: 21 deaths, with a population of 84 residents.
Aspire Of Muscatine, Muscatine County: 21 deaths, with a population of 56 residents.