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Nursing home staff say accused nurse 'failed to thoroughly assess' dying woman

A nursing home employee accused of not performing CPR on a resident allegedly saw that the resident had blue lips and was not breathing, according to an Illinois Department of Public Health report.

That employee, 41-year-old Christy McCall of Belleville, was charged March 28 with neglect in the death of the 81-year-old resident on June 30, 2017 at the Collinsville Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.

The resident, Eunice Vancil, died of a heart attack.

Vancil had previously indicated that she wanted all measures to be taken to save her life should her heart stop beating.

On the afternoon of Vancil's death, she was taken to the bathroom by a nurse at 3:30 p.m., according to the IDPH report. She asked the nurse if she could lie down, but the nurse said she should watch TV before dinner.

At 4:33 p.m., Vancil was in her room watching TV. Less than 10 minutes later, according to the IDPH report, she was found slumped in her chair, her lips blue.

She was declared dead at 4:45 p.m.

The nursing home took statements from at least 10 nurses as a part of their investigation into Vancil's death. McCall, a licensed nurse at the facility who was on-duty in Vancil's wing the afternoon of her death, was suspended after the incident and later fired.

Staff members said McCall "failed to thoroughly assess" Vancil after being notified of her condition, according to the IDPH report. McCall said she made a visual assessment of Vancil's condition, and said a second nurse assisted with that assessment. The second nurse, however, denied that.

One of the certified nursing assistants said she was helping residents to the dining room when she walked into Vancil's room and saw that her lips and chin area were purplish in color, and she was not breathing, according to the report. The CNA said she tried to rouse Vancil. McCall allegedly entered the doorway of her room and said, "Oh not (Vancil)," according to the report.

The CNA said she told McCall that Vancil was a full code, meaning CPR needed to be done to try to resuscitate her. The CNA said McCall allegedly left the room, and did not assess Vancil.

After McCall left the room, a nurse in a different hall saw her and asked if there was anything she could do. McCall allegedly asked the nurse for paperwork and the coroner's number.

McCall reportedly said, "Oh my God, I don't know what to do."

Multiple interviews from CNAs tell a similar story, the details differing slightly. But the overall story came down to this:

McCall came into Vancil's room, saw Vancil was unresponsive and instructed the CNAs to move her to the bed, according to the IDPH report. One CNA said Vancil made a "gasping noise when we laid her down, and no one did CPR." She then said they should start CPR, after the nurse was notified.

Another CNA said she stayed in Vancil's room when others went to get the nurse, and noticed her mouth was blue and black. "I thought only the nurse could do CPR. The nurse just said lay her down. No one did CPR."

Generally speaking, protocol at the nursing home is to get the nurse in charge and do emergency care on the resident after checking their chart to confirm the resident did not have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, according to the report. Then, they should start CPR with the nurse's assistance, and if necessary, start oxygen, get the crash cart and call 911.

The criminal charges against McCall in Madison County allege that McCall did not do any of this, and failed to perform CPR on Vancil, leading to her death.