MN man dies after aide fails to plug in heart pump

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (KARE) The Minnesota Department of Health has faulted a Twin Cities assisted-living center after a resident died. The reason? An aide forgot to plug in the resident's heart pump at bedtime.

The death happened July 10 at Aging Joyfully, 13050 Pioneer Trail in Eden Prairie.

The Health Department says the aide got distracted when another resident came into the room and forgot to plug the heart pump into an outlet for its nightly switch from batteries. The resident, 79-year-old Brad Mills, was found dead next morning.

A department of health investigation found the facility had no system in place to ensure the heart pump would keep operating when switched every night from batteries to electricity from an outlet.

The medical examiner said a low battery alarm did go off. But law enforcement couldn't determine if the alarms worked well enough to be heard.

Owner and operator Joy Hansen says her facility has complied with orders for procedural changes. She did not specify the changes.

Kaye Mills said it has been a difficult time losing her husband. "Somebody should take responsibility for it," she said. When asked is she will file suit against Aging Joyfully, she said, "it's not going to bring him back."

Joy Hansen, owner of Aging Joyfully, said no one was directly fired over the incident and that her team has made improvements to documentation, which she said were recommended by the state.

In an emailed statement, Hansen wrote:

"All of us at Aging Joyfully have been deeply affected by this incident. The family of Mr. Mills has been very supportive of the care that we provided to their family member. Our feelings have been openly expressed to the Mills family. In return the family has expressed great gratitude for the care that we provided and has since visited the facility on more then one occasion to visit staff and other residents."

She maintained that Aging Joyfully is a safe place to receive quality care.