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Resident in Nursing Home Van Crash Sues

Time and again we have heard of numerous incidents where nursing home residents become injured, sick, or even die as a result of negligence or abuse at the hands of nursing home staff at facilities. Residents wander off and fall downstairs when unsupervised, they are strapped to their beds for prolonged periods without being able to move and then develop sores, nursing home staffers choose to unnecessarily medicate residents to keep them subdued rather than use more humane and modern tactics, and they resort to abusing residents out of pure frustration, anger or even enmity.

These are just some general examples of the awful things we see that prompt government investigations – civil, criminal and regulatory – as well as civil lawsuits by victims or their family members for injuries or wrongful death. And yet such incidents do not even necessarily have to happen within facilities. They can happen outside when nursing home staff are still supervising (or supposed to be supervising). We’ve heard of a resident choking on lunch during an outside field trip because he was not properly supervised while eating. And in recent news in Illinois, a woman was severely and permanently injured while being transported in a nursing home van.

Crash and Injuries

Last November, a nursing home van carrying a female resident of the Atrium Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center of Cahokia in St. Clair County crashed while en route from the nursing home to a dialysis treatment center. The resident already suffered from diabetes, kidney failure, and had her right leg amputated. The van was involved in a collision, and the woman, who was riding in a wheelchair, suffered injuries and subsequently had to have her right leg amputated.

This past April, she filed a civil lawsuit against the nursing home as well as another health services company, among others, claiming that during the crash she was thrown from her wheelchair and fractured her left leg. According to local reports, the lawsuit states that she had to have the left leg amputated as a result of her injuries from the crash. She has sued the nursing home as the employer of the van’s driver, who is accused of speeding and not operating the van safely, as well as not properly securing the victim. The report also indicates that the fracture was initially wrongly diagnosed and not properly treated, which is what led to the eventual amputation.

The Lesson

While this particular case is unique and somewhat different than the typical nursing home injuries and deaths we constantly see, it is nevertheless a reminder that residents are entrusted to the safety and supervision of nursing home staff, and they must be kept safe at all times. It is also a reminder of the problems plaguing Illinois, as this matter occurred in the same area, Cahokia, where two more recent cases of resident injury and death occurred and about which we also recently blogged. It is vital to have competent counsel in this field. While nothing will truly be the same, residents must protect their legal rights and seek justice.

See Related Blog Posts:

Chicago Area Nursing Home Resident Wanders Out of Facility Unattended

Nursing Home Faces $100,000 in Fines after Man Left in Sun Later Dies