On Friday, a Cook County jury returned a $2.9 million verdict for the family of a 57-year old woman who died at a nursing home due to the staff’s negligence. The law firm of Levin & Perconti represented Sheila Albores, the daughter and administrator of the estate of victim Ana Carrasco.
Carrasco was admitted to the HCR Manor Care Homewood facility for a short two week rehabilitation stay after having received a tracheostomy tube in surgery two weeks earlier. The staff at the home failed to clean and suction Carrasco’s trach tube to keep it free of mucous and failed to administer medicines crucial to maintaining a patent airway for Carrasco. After five days at the home of suffering from increasingly severe respiratory distress, Carrasco suffocated on her own mucous and was pronounced brain dead.
Friday ended Sheila Albores’ four and a half year battle to obtain justice for her mother and warn other families of the dangerous conditions at the nation’s nursing homes. In 2003, Albores testified on at the Senate Hearings on Aging on Capitol Hill. Sheila told her mother’s story and challenged the committee with these words, “I conclude today’s testimony with this statement; “My mother, Ana Carrasco, was fifty-seven years old, able to voice her complaints and concerns, and had the support of a loving family at her side while in a nursing home, and yet still faced a tragic end. If this could happen to my mother, I ask who will be the voice for patients who either cannot speak for themselves nor have no one to speak for them? What does fate hold for them? I am here today so that no one suffers from neglect while under the care of a nursing home. ”