The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune recently discussed the tragic death of a 91 year old nursing home resident. In April of this year, Jeanette Rittenhouse, a resident at the Samaritan Bethany Home on Eighth, asked for an aide to help her get to the bathroom. Common procedure requires that those residents who need assistance get the help of an aide as well as the use of a walker and a gait belt. All of these are required to ensure the maximum safety while the resident is moved.
While being taken to the bathroom in that manner, Jeanette’s roommate rolled in front of the bathroom door in a wheelchair. Instead of moving her back to the bed or calling for assistance, the aide left Jeanette standing alone and went to move her roommate. Jeannette was not at all able to stay up on her own-that is why she asked for assistance in the first place. As soon as she was left there, she fell backwards in a freefall leading to severe injuries. She was bed-ridden for several weeks after before eventually passing away.
The nurse’s aide explains that she “panicked” in the situation, causing her to make the deadly mistake. She was suspended, and the rest of staff members are being trained again on the way to handle the process of moving residents.
Nursing home falls caused by failure to properly supervise residents is a common example of negligence at these facilities. Thousands of deaths occur at Illinois nursing homes each year because of falls. Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti have represented many families who lost loved ones because they were left unattended at critical moments. Because it happens so frequently all nursing home staff members should be well-aware of the dangers posed by leaving vulnerable residents alone. There is no excuse for making these mistakes-not when lives hang in the balance.