The Chicago Tribune recently reported that the family of a 78 year-old McHenry County nursing home resident were not suspicious of her death at an Illinois nursing home until police investigators began asking questions of a possible morphine overdose. Last week, authorities exhumed the body of a 78 year-old woman as part of an investigation into six suspicious deaths at an Illinois nursing home.
Steven Levin of Levin & Perconti represents the family and stated that this death underscores the importance of an Illinois law that has been slow in implementation that is intended to flag suspicious nursing home deaths. Levin stated that although the experience is gut-wrenching for the family, “they were willing to go through it” for any light it would shed on the cause of the 78 year-old woman’s death.
Levin stated that cause of death investigations in cases that are not obvious are difficult for the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Once they receive a complaint, they do investigate. However, their investigations are limited by resources. If there is no complaint, you get the situation where doctors attribute the cause of death to pre-existing conditions. Advocates, such as Illinois Citizens for Better Care, have been pushing for years for a systematic method for analyzing nursing home deaths.
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