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'I was rushing': Caretaker charged in connection to 2019 death in Spokane supported living facility

A resident of the facility died several hours after she drank a large amount of vinegar that was given to her by a caretaker.
Credit: Aacres Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Washington Attorney General's Office has filed charges against a supported living facility worker related to the death of a resident in February 2019.

According to a press release from the Attorney General's Office, the resident, 64-year-old M.W., died after drinking a large quantity of vinegar instead of her medication at Aacres Human Services in Spokane.

The caregiver, Fikirte Aseged, is charged with third-degree assault and reckless endangerment. Aseged was the person in charge of the resident's colonoscopy preparation. Instead of the medication, Aseged allegedly gave the resident a large amount of cleaning vinegar to drink. The resident died several hours later.

According to Spokane County Medical Examiner Dr. Sally Aiken, the resident's cause of death was “superficial Necrosis and diffuse acute inflammation of esophagus, stomach, and small bowel due to accidental ingestion of household vinegar in place of bowel preparation solution.” 

According to the Housing Manager of the facility Tamra Dailing, M.W. was wheelchair bound, on water restriction, obese and developmentally delayed.

Dailing also confirmed that Aseged knew how to administer the resident's medicine for the procedure before it occurred. 

According to other staff who was working before and after the incident, there was a bottle of cleaning vinegar in the recycling, half-full, discovered the day after the resident's death.

The vinegar was originally purchased to clean the facility's coffee pots.

Aseged gave a statement to investigators that she thought the bottle of vinegar was the same solution she gave to M.W. the first time.

“I don’t know how we missed that day. Nobody told me the directions were on the board,” Aseged said.

She said that she did read the written directions from the doctor and some of the directions were highlighted. She admitted she had read the label on the colon preparation solution prior to giving M.W. her first half bottle around 5 p.m. However, when asked if she read the label on the bottle at 3 a.m. before giving M.W. her final dose of the colon preparation solution, she said “no” and said, “I assumed it was the same, I just grabbed the bottle, I was rushing.”

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