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Veteran Dies After Breaking Neck From Aggressively Pushed Wheelchair in Nursing Home

The children of 85 year old Bruce Dove were told their father died after falling from his wheelchair. The father of 5 and widower was an Army Veteran and had served in the Korean War. He was a resident of the United Church of Christ’s Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and was lucky enough to have his family frequently visit him. His children were surprised when the nursing home told them their father had fallen from his chair and died. A red flag was raised when the family found out that two nurses involved in his care had been fired. As a result of a lawsuit against the nursing home, the family came to learn that their father had suffered a broken neck as a result of an aggressively pushed wheelchair. In February 2014, Mr. Dove was sitting in his wheelchair just outside the dining room at Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home waiting to join his fellow residents. A nurse asked her co-worker, also a nurse, to push him into the dining room. Instead of following standard protocol and alerting Mr. Dove that he was about to be moved and positioning his feet in the attached footrests, the nurse pushed him forcefully forward without notifying him and without properly securing him. As a result, he flew onto the ground and hit his head, suffering 2 broken vertebrae at the base of his skull.  Instead of immobilizing Mr. Dove, the two nurses turned him over, put him back in his wheelchair, and put him in bed. He died the next day from his injuries.

On Friday, December 8th, a jury ruled against the nursing home and awarded Mr. Dove’s children $250,000 in damages.

From Broken Bones to Brain Trauma to Death, Falls are Always To Be Taken Seriously

A fall in a nursing home is not an uncommon event. The elderly are particularly at risk for falling due to muscle weakness that occurs with increasing age, impaired vision, and health and physical conditions that affect balance and mobility. However, when a nursing home is entrusted with the care of our loved ones, the expectation is that they will be properly supervised and tended to, especially when they have been identified as a resident at risk for falls.

Frequently we hear of the elderly sustaining a broken hip when they have suffered a fall. Injuries such as broken bones that require surgery carry significant risk for the elderly. We also hear of neurological injuries and even death as a result of head trauma from falling. As was the case with Mr. Dove, sometimes nursing homes are hesitant to give the true version of events that led to an injury.

If you have a loved one that was injured as the result of a fall in a nursing home, you deserve to know exactly what happened that day and what was done to prevent your loved one from falling. The Chicago-based nursing home attorneys of Levin & Perconti were among the first to represent the families of victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Under certain circumstances, a fall within a nursing home, assisted living facility, or physical rehabilitation center can be considered neglect. While falls can sometimes unexpectedly happen, please trust yourself if you suspect that something doesn’t seem right. Time is a consideration when filing a lawsuit in the state of Illinois, so please contact us as soon as possible to see how we can help you get justice for your loved one. Consultations are free and can be completed over the phone at 312-332-2872 or by using our online consultation request form.

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