Seniors’ bodies embalmed before essential samples taken |

Seniors’ bodies embalmed before essential samples taken

by Susie Vasquez

Four elderly patients died at Evergreen Mountain View Health Care on Dec. 9 from suspected upper-respiratory illness. Tests have been ordered to determine if influenza or some other disease is responsible.

Unfortunately, that determination can be made in just two of the four cases. Two patients were embalmed before essential samples could be obtained.

Doug McCoy, regional operations manager for Evergreen Health, said officials from the Nevada State Health Division came to Mountain View on Dec. 10, but bodies are removed from the facility immediately because there is no place to store them.

“Once they leave Mountain View, we have no control,” he said.

Nothing has been confirmed, but some cases, including people from the home who haven’t died, have been positive for Group A streptococcus, McCoy said.

Most often associated with communicable disease in humans, the organism causes pharyngitis, scarlet fever and wound infections.

“It’s not preventable with flu vaccine or with the pneumococcal vaccine,” he said. “Group A strep is a common type of respiratory problem, treatable with penicillin.”

A total of six people died at Mountain View on Dec. 9, two from causes not related to respiratory illness.

The test results to determine which organism is responsible are expected in just a few days, said state epidemiologist Dr. Randall Todd.

“We asked that the samples be cultured for influenza and the cause of death,” he said. “The (Carson City) coroner’s office ordered the testing.”

Todd is trying to confirm the cause of the deaths, and the agency’s Bureau of Licensure and Certification will determine whether the facility was operating properly.