Last week we announced that our Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys had filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of Anibal Calderon. Anibal died after being attacked by a fellow resident at the Oak Park Healthcare Center in February. Since the attack many in the community rightly began asking very pointed questions to figure out exactly how care at the facility could lapse to the point that the attack could occur without being stopped by staff members.
Following Mr. Calderon’s passing, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) began an investigation into the incident. Last Friday, that agency publicly released the report, which details a string of problems and caregiving negligence which contributed to the deadly assault. The IDPH explains that it intends to forward its findings to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to determine if the federal agency wishes to impose any sanctions on the facility for its caregiving problems.
According to the report, Anibal, who lived in the dementia ward of the facility, was left alone with the aggressive resident. At some point on February 14th, nurses at the facility heard yelling. They followed the sounds to find Anibal lying on the ground with blood pooling around his head; the attacking resident was standing beside him. Anibal died two days later from the head injury. There appeared to be no provocation, and the Cook County medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.
The IDPH report makes clear that staff members at the home should have been aware of the risk of harm in the situation. Like Mr. Calderon, the attacking resident had a deteriorating mental state and was known to have an “aggressive disorder.” Our Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers working on the case have also explained that the attacker had a violent criminal background. It is logical for staff members to be aware of the potential dangers posed by residents with cognitive disorders and aggressive tendencies. That is particularly true when the aggressive resident, who was sixty six years old, is significantly younger than others around him (Mr. Calderon was eighty years old when he died).
According to the IDPH report, there were recommendations for caregiving protocols to be adjusted to account for the change in the men’s conditions. Those suggested changes were based on the need to keep the men safe, including a desire to prevent potential incidents like the one that ultimately resulted. Unfortunately, those caregiving alterations were never made. Failure to adjust for changes in resident condition is an example of nursing home negligence which set the stage for the tragedy.
The report makes clear that many staff members admitting not being made aware of the behavioral concerns of the men. As such, they did not properly supervise the men or take other basic steps to ensure this sort of altercation would be prevented. In addition, an administrator at the home admitted that “the facility did not have a policy or plan to address coping with physically aggressive behavior.” This lack of preparation and failure to keep residents safe constitutes clear nursing home negligence. It should never be allowed to occur.
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