Charges have officially been filed this week against several employees of the Casa de Vallejo facility stemming from a 2008 fire that killed several residents of the nursing home according to KTVU News.
The fire started when an unsupervised resident began smoking near an oxygen tank, and somehow lost consciousness, possibly due to an unrelated medical event. The fire then spread from the restroom to the entire facility, which housed nearly 120 elderly residents. Ultimately three residents were killed with the remaining others permanently displaced.
Officials investigating the fire eventually discovered that the fire alarms at the facility were disabled due to the negligence of those involved in the building upkeep. The error meant that the residents of the facility had no warning that a deadly fire was spreading all around them. The negligence was compounded by the fact that most of the residents were medicated and had physical mobility issues. In a valiant effort to save the resident victims of this nursing home neglect, firefighters were literally carrying patients over their shoulders to escape the inferno.
The five employees face charges of elder abuse leading to death and manslaughter. The seriousness of the charges and the deadly consequences of their wrongdoing is a vivid example of the fragile circumstances in which many elderly residents live. Even simple mistakes or brief moments of unsupervised activity can have deadly consequences for patients at these facilities.
The Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti have seen the consequences of nursing home negligence first-hand and continue to fight for victims and their families. Be sure to contact an elder abuse lawyer if you feel that your loved one has fallen victim to negligent care in an Illinois nursing home.