Articles Posted in Choking

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Yet another sad story of a choking death by a nursing home resident has recently been made public. Kathryn Miller, an 88 year old woman who was temporarily staying at Alden Court Nursing Care & Rehabilitation Center in Fairhaven, Mass. while recovering from a successful hip surgery, choked on a clam, which triggered a seizure and lead to her death by asphyxiation.

Ms. Miller’s only child, Steven Miller, is suing the nursing home, alleging that they are at fault for failing to adhere to her dietary plan (which did not include clams), failing to monitor her and respond quickly while she was choking and for later covering up the identities of the 4 RNs that were working at the time of her death. Her son believes that it is one of the nurses that gave his mother an entire clam, which caused her to choke to death. In the lawsuit, Mr. Miller also notes that the cause of death listed on her death certificate is different than the cause told to him by the nursing home. Kathryn Miller’s cause of death is officially listed as ‘asphyxiation,’ while Alden Court argues that the cause of death was a seizure.

Differing Stories

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The Symphony of Morgan Park, formerly known as the Renaissance Park South, is facing a lawsuit from the family of 89 year old Christine Young, who suffered from blindness and required supervision and assistance with eating and other daily tasks. The lawsuit alleges that the nursing home failed to properly supervise her and that she managed to obtain and choke on a piece of candy, ultimately dying from cardiac arrest. While the lawsuit does not specifically state that she was given the candy by staff, it does reference a bag of candy on her bedside table and her inability to reach for the candy herself, given her condition.

Elderly in Nursing Homes at High Risk for Choking Incidents

Sadly, choking happens frequently in nursing homes and to the elderly in general. Medications and medical conditions can affect a person’s ability to properly chew and swallow food, resulting in tragic circumstances. Although these risk factors are known to nursing home administrators and staff, oftentimes restrictions are not noted in care plans for residents or if documented, employees might overlook restrictions and allow residents to eat foods that should be avoided.

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A nursing home was recently fined $50,000 after a resident choked to death while under the care of the home. After an investigation into his case, health officials concluded that his death was the result of the nursing home’s failure to properly assess his ability to consume solid foods. As a result of this nursing home negligence, he choked to death before nursing home staff could dislodge the food. The nursing home attorneys of Levin & Perconti have handled similar cases in which nursing homes failed to accommodate the special dietary of their residents, thereby leading to choking or other injuries. Click on the link to read the full account of this nursing home choking death.

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A nursing home has been fined $80,000 after investigators determined a patient died because of the staff’s nursing home neglect. The staff failed to follow the resident’s dietary needs. The 54 year-old resident was supposed to be restricted to soft foods and died when he choked on a meatball. The state regulators cited the nursing home for the nursing home neglect.

To read more about the nursing home neglect.

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An elderly nursing home resident died last year after choking on his lunch at a nursing home. He suffocated to death when the nursing home neglected to accommodate his dietary needs by changing his meal plan. Prior to the accident, a nursing home dietitian alerted other staff to his risk of choking because he was having a hard time chewing and swallowing thin liquid. Rather than taking steps to immediately address this risk, the nursing home was negligent and did not change his meal plan or supervise him while eating.

On the day of his death, the nursing home resident was given a meal of beef, vegetables and potatoes. He choked on this food and it became stuck in his trachea. Staff attempted the Heimlich maneuver on him but could not resuscitate him. As a result of the nursing home’s failure to address his dietary needs, he died. The nursing home was fined $90,000 by the state.

Read full coverage of this nursing home negligence by following the link.