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After the California Department of Health Services concluded an investigation into the death of 89-year-old Eva Anita Morgan, Cottonwood Healthcare has received an “AA” citation and a $90,000 fine, the most severe under state law.

Morgan died on March 22, 2005 from sepsis syndrome and she suffered from a urinary tract infection, death records show.

“When nursing home neglect occurs and the elderly experience bed sores, the conditions can sometimes progress to sepsis syndrome if the infection is left untreated,” said the group website.

Before developing sepsis, Morgan, was brought to Cottonwood Healthcare, a facility that the California HealthCare Foundation lists as having 98 beds and is “freestanding” which means that it works free from a hospital.

Morgan was found with symptoms of dehydration, two days before she died, and was transferred to an acute care hospital. The death certificate lists Sutter Davis Hospital as the death place.

Month’s following Morgan’s death a complaint regarding the nursing home’s treatment of her came to the California Department of Health Services.

The CDHS determined that the facility failed to: “provide a continuing assessment of the resident’s hydration status, notify her physician of symptoms of dehydration; notify dietary services of the decreased fluid intake for dietary interventions; and ensure sufficient fluids were provided to prevent dehydration.”

James Ellis, senior administrator for Cottonwood Healthcare, said the center feels CDHS was premature in issuing the “AA” citation.

“We fully intend to appeal the citation,” Ellis said. “We feel the outcome will be different than the picture they’re portraying.”

Ellis refused to comment further.

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