Doctor With History Of Neglect Still Has License

Nurse: Doctor Stan Worley Delayed Care

A Denver area doctor, with a documented history of patient neglect continues to practice in Colorado.

Now, another patient under his care has died and the CALL7 Investigators are exploring why the state's medical board has done nothing.

On Sept. 8, 2006, 82-year-old Frank Andrade was discharged from a hospital and sent to Cherry Creek Nursing Center in Aurora for rehabilitation following hip surgery.

"We're a very close family. We were there every day. Every one of us was there," said Rachel Belmudez, Andrade's daughter.

She told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia, "We saw an improvement in him. It seemed like he was getting stronger, like the therapy was working for him."

What Andrade's family did not know was that one of the primary physicians at Cherry Creek Nursing Center had a documented history of patient neglect.

Dr. Stan Worley was a staff physician at the infamous O'Hara Nursing Home in Denver. Eight years ago, Worley was one of the doctors sued and sanctioned after several patients died at the facility.

The case was ultimately settled and O'Hara has since closed.

Worley was placed on five years probation by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners, the organization that oversees doctors in Colorado. The medical board has the authority to suspend or revoke doctors' licenses to practice.

Worley was still on probation when Andrade was admitted to Cherry Creek Nursing Center.

On the morning of Oct. 4, 2006, Worley told Belmudez that her father would be discharged later that week. It was Andrade's 82nd birthday.

"At the time I asked, 'Dr. Worley, are you sure it's OK to take dad by van to Lamar?'" Belmudez told 7NEWS.

She said Worley responded, "Oh yeah. He's good to go," even though court documentation indicates Andrade was critically dehydrated with ongoing diarrhea on the previous day.

According to a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment investigation, Andrade's condition turned for the worse shortly after that conversation. The CDPHE oversees nursing homes in Colorado.

Around 9:15 a.m. the 82-year-old began to struggle and cough uncontrollably. Andrade's family and the nurses became concerned and, according to the CDPHE investigation, one of the nurses hurried to get Worley.

The nurse, in the health department report, stated that Worley was on the telephone with his insurance agent and refused to hang up and check on Andrade.

"There was no question in this case that he delayed care," the nurse said.

Court documents indicate that as Andrade struggled to breathe and his lungs filled with fluid, Worley eventually returned to the room.

It was after 10 a.m.

The nurses asked if Andrade should be taken to a hospital, to which Worley is reported to have responded, "What the hospital can do, we can do here."

As the morning progressed, Andrade's condition worsened.

According to Andrade's family, around 12:30 p.m. nurses again tried to get Worley involved with the elderly man's care with little success. At 1 p.m., Andrade was taken to a hospital. He was suffering from septic shock and a mucous plug in his lungs.

At that point there was little the hospital staff could do and Frank Andrade died eight hours later.

Charlene Miller said she knows all too well about Worley. Her sister, Darlene Webb, was a patient of Worley's at O'Hara. Webb had suffered a stroke and, according to her sister, later died when her breathing tube was removed without her or her sister's consent.

Miller was stunned to learn Worley was still treating patients.

"I thought he would lose his license or at least it would ruin his reputation enough that he wouldn't be able to practice anymore," Miller told 7NEWS.

The report by CDPHE makes it clear that nurses and other professionals who worked with Worley had grave concerns about his competence.

One nurse told investigators that Worley "not only delayed medical care, he did not provide appropriate care once he did take action. If you want someone to die, let [Worley] take care of him."

The report also noted that Worley "would put his head down on the table if he didn't want to hear something."

The investigation by the state health department led to sanctions against Cherry Creek Nursing Center for following, in this case, Worley's medical advice.

But the investigators' findings were apparently not read by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners and CALL7 Investigators have learned the medical board requested the records.

"It seems to me that the medical board would like to see the information that you brought in here today. I think it would certainly help them establish their case," said Chris Lines of the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

In stark contrast to the CDPHE report, the state medical board, lacking the health department report, determined that Worley did nothing wrong.

"There is a loophole. There has got to be good communications of records and there was nothing in this case and that has appalled me," said state representative Cheri Jahn.

Years ago Jahn had a family member at the O'Hara nursing facility.

"I find it appalling that he is even practicing. We need to have legislation that just says the medical board will share information and contact other agencies when there has been a complaint against a doctor. That absolutely has to happen," said Jahn.

CALL7 Investigators have asked to speak to members of Colorado's medical board, but so far have been denied. Worley did not answer our questions and referred us to his attorney.

The Andrade family's case against Worley, the nurses and Cherry Creek Nursing Center is pending.

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