An Illinois nursing home lawyer who has worked in the area for even a short time knows that one of the most frequent forms of preventable death at these facilities is related to resident choking deaths. Chewing and swallowing issues are common among vulnerable area residents who have medical conditions that affect their eating habits. Special diets and close observations are often required to account for those deficiencies and to keep residents safe at mealtimes. When that diet is not properly maintained or if supervision is lacking, then deadly accidents can result.
That appears to be at the heart of a recent nursing home choking death lawsuit reported by the Kentucky Herald-Leader. The victim in that case had been at the negligent nursing home for only 10 days before being left alone while eating. She began choking on her food, but no staff member was around to come to her aid. In fact, the complaint states that nearby nurses could actually hear her “gurgling,” but they still not did rush to her room to assist her. The nurse who was assigned to her care took between 15 to 20 minutes to clean a “suction” machine to help the victim recover. The victim died shortly after.
Our Chicago injury attorneys have worked with many victims of Illinois nursing home choking accidents. For example, we recently helped the families of victims in two separate cases who died in nursing homes after being given the wrong food and not being properly supervised. One 47-year old victim was in the facility only to recover from a stroke. His family expected him home within weeks. He had a few teeth extracted and was ordered on a soft foods diet. Yet, staff members ignored that order and served him a hot dog alone in his room. He subsequently choked on the meal and passed away.
In a separate case, one man who had a history of fast eating was also ordered on a pureed diet. One afternoon while eating the man began choking. He eventually died from the incident, but not before solid foods were discovered in his system. Clearly staff members at the home had failed to abide by clear orders regarding the man’s meal plan.
As each of these examples indicate, it is vital that all nursing home staff members take choking risks seriously.
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