Toledo Group Home Where 2 Fell Ill, Died May Be Closed

By Laren Weber, The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

Jul. 2–The Ohio Department of Health has proposed closing the Pamela Shay Angel Arms Family group home, where two residents were found unconscious last month in an upstairs bedroom and later died, a spokesman for the agency said yesterday.

An investigation following the deaths revealed violations “that jeopardized the health and safety of the residents of your facility,” according to a letter sent Thursday to Pamela Shay, who owns the facility.

Sara Morman, a department spokesman, said the agency is proposing the group home’s license be revoked.

Ms. Shay has 30 days to request an administrative hearing with health department representatives during which she can present her position, contentions, or arguments in an effort to retain her license.

If one is not requested, state officials will issue an order to revoke the license, which was issued in 2005, Ms. Morman said.

Ms. Shay could not be reached for comment last night.

Police responded to the group home at 1577 Bow St., off of Western Avenue, about 1:15 p.m. June 9 on a report of two unresponsive males.

Thomas Calhoun, 47, was found dead in an upstairs bedroom, where authorities said the temperature was measured at more than 90 degrees.

His roommate, John Jones, 79, died the following week in the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital. His temperature was measured at 105.5 degrees when he arrived at the hospital, Dr. Diane Barnett, a Lucas County deputy coroner, said.

A third resident, a 60-year-old man, no longer lives at Angel Arms.

A nine-page report detailing findings of the investigation revealed that on the afternoon the men were found, Angel Arms employees — knowing of the excessive heat — had not taken responsibility to ensure the victims took their morning medications and drank fluids, provided them with breakfast and lunch, or checked on them until 1 p.m.

Nothing was presented by the facility to demonstrate that the residents were being monitored in the heat for safety, according to the report.

Steve Kahle, an investigator with the coroner’s office, said the men were found at least eight to 15 hours after they became incapacitated despite a witness’ report to police that he had checked on the men at 11 a.m. that day.

State officials reported that Mr. Calhoun’s body already had begun decomposing.

The investigation also revealed the bedroom Mr. Jones and Mr. Calhoun shared had not been checked for “excessive heat in spite of a heat wave for several days in the 90s with high humidity.”

The high temperature June 9 was 94. At 1 p.m., just before the men were found, the temperature was 91 with 45 percent humidity, according to the National Weather Service in Cleveland.

An inspection in January of Angel Arms found 29 violations, including inadequately trained staff and failure to provide a clean, healthy environment, among others.

The state notified Angel Arms in April that it would be fined if it didn’t correct the violations.

Ms. Morman said all the necessary changes had been made when the state returned to the facility May 28 for a follow-up investigation.

Dr. Barnett said the preliminary cause of death for Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Jones, each of whom suffered from schizophrenia, was complications from heat stroke.

The exact cause is pending results of toxicology and other tests, she said.

Toledo police Detective Jeff Clark, who is investigating the case, said charges are pending final autopsy results.

The men were taking anti-psychotic medication, which Dr. Barnett said increases the risk of heat stroke.

The medication impairs the body’s ability to regulate its temperature.

Contact Laren Weber at: [email protected] or 419-724-6050.


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