Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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nursing home illness

Last Flu Season Was Deadliest for Nursing Home Residents

During the 2017-2018 flu season, an estimated 80,000 Americans died and 900,000 were hospitalized, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), making last year one of the deadliest our country has even seen with the elderly and very young children affected most severely. A new study from Brown University School of Public Health reports that a more immunogenic vaccine, such as the adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV), can improve clinical outcomes in nursing home patients compared with a non-adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine.

According to the CDC, older adults with weaker immune systems also may have a lower protective immune response after flu vaccination compared to younger, healthier people.

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nursing home infections

Painful Infections Remain Untreated When Chicago’s Nursing Homes are Understaffed

The Chicago Tribune recently published a scathing article on the inadequate measures taken by a Chicago nursing home to prevent a resident’s bedsores from turning into deadly infections. The story featured the negligence and wrongful death claims of an 85-year-old resident at Lakeview Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on the city’s North Side. Family members of the resident told reporters that the facility’s staff never spoke of the “seriousness of the pressure sore, which led to sepsis, a severe infection that can quickly turn deadly if not cared for properly.”

Complications related to pressure sores often require intravenous antibiotics and sensitive care treatments to treat bloodstream infections and can result in painful surgeries to cut away dead skin around the wound. According to health officials, there are four types of infections that are often linked with sepsis including: lungs (pneumonia), kidney (urinary tract infection), skin (pressure wounds and bedsores) and gut. Out of the 6,000 Illinois nursing home residents who are hospitalized with sepsis each year, 1 in 5 won’t survive.

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nursing home disaster plan

Healthcare Facilities Should Be Prepared for Natural Disasters

Although new Medicare and Medicaid guidelines were set in place after the tragic deaths of over 100 nursing home residents during Hurricane Katrina, cases of patients left behind due to natural disasters such as wildfires, tornadoes, or floods are reported each year. These occurrences are starting to prompt health care officials to raise concern over the need for better public policy support, emergency planning resources, funding, and protections for vulnerable long-term care residents in the event of an emergency prompted by catastrophic events and conditions that threaten their well-being such as no internet and no electricity.

A recent federal review of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) records found that:

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nursing home wrongful death

A Closer Look at Christian Village Nursing Home Resident’s Untimely Death

Levin & Perconti attorneys recently reviewed second quarter nursing home violations in Illinois on the blog. One out of two facilities with a Type AA violation was Christian Village nursing home, located at 1507 Seventh St. in Lincoln. The home received the serious violation for failing to notify a 64-year-old patient’s doctor of rapid changes related to asthma. The female resident died a preventable death if only she had been treated for her known progressive respiratory symptoms and soon after initial complaints of shortness of breath. Her issues were followed by a continual decline in overall health and was soon later found unresponsive and taking her last supported breaths at a hospital. As a result, the Lincoln nursing home has been fined $50,000 by the state.

According to a report by the State Journal Register, the doctor, who isn’t named, is quoted in investigative documents saying, “I should have been notified” of the patient’s “progressive respiratory symptoms.” In the same note, the doctor said he had “no ideas what was going on” or he would have “ordered an antibiotic or sent the patient to a hospital emergency department earlier if he had known the patient continued to be short of breath,” and that he was shocked to hear the patient had died. The State Journal Register outlined the patient’s timeline of care in a July 18, 2018 news article.

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The family of an elderly couple who died within 2 months of each other at a Eugene, Oregon nursing home has sued the facility, citing wrongful death as a result of the alleged incompetent and negligent care the couple received while living at the home.

Harvey and Maxine Hanson, 92 and 91 at the time of their deaths, were admitted to Avamere Riverpark of Eugene in March 2014. Both patients were classified as a high fall risk and despite Mr. Hanson’s doctor’s advice for physical therapy, Mr. Hanson managed to fall 13 times in the mere 8 months he resided at Avamere, never receiving the recommended therapies to reduce his risk. Mrs. Hanson fell at least 4 times while a resident.

Falls Just One of Many Disturbing Claims

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The Chicago Tribune and other local media outlets are reporting that 98-year-old nursing home resident Dorothy Byrd died last month as a result of an overdose of two powerful painkillers. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office has ruled her death a homicide. Byrd was a resident at Holland Home, an assisted living facility located at 16300 Louis Ave in South Holland, Ill.

Reports indicate that in addition to Byrd’s death, five other residents of Holland Home were hospitalized on February 3 due to unknown causes. Two of these residents also died, but the Medical Examiner is still awaiting toxicology results and has not yet released the causes of their deaths. According to the Chicago Sun-Times coverage, Byrd’s death was the result of a morphine and hydrocodone overdose.

Holland House is an assisted living facility operated by Villa Healthcare, a healthcare management company headquartered in Skokie that, according to the company’s website, operates 12 nursing homes and four assisted living facilities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. According to the Holland Home’s website, the facility offers independent living, assisted living and memory care services.
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When considering misconduct and abuse of power at nursing homes, most residents and their families worry about physical abuse and neglect. Far too many have been forced to deal with a senior loved one’s untimely death or serious injury which could have been prevented if caregivers had simply done their job up to reasonable standards.

Yet lurking on top of the persistent threat of neglect is also the risk that those paid to provide care will intentionally abuse their position for financial gain. Trust is at the center of the resident-nursing home relationship. That is why stories like one coming out of Champaign are maddening–a reminder that all those involved in nursing home care administration, if they choose, can cause serious damage to those who count of them.

Systematic Senior Financial Exploitation

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Illinois nursing home neglect and abuse cases are just one type of injury lawsuit that fall of the rubric of “tort” law. All tort law cases are guided by different procedural rules applicable at both the state and federal levels. Those rules dictate general principles like “who” can sue and “what” they can recover. All of those rules are separate from specific arguments about whether someone was or was not injured due to negligence.

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court issued an important ruling in a high-profile case that may eventually affect the applicability of those tort rules for some Illinois couples.

DOMA Case

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The Chicago Tribune reported that former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood discovered the body of a 40-year-old nursing home resident while he was paddle boarding in Lake Michigan on Monday morning. According to reports, the baseball star immediately called 911. Soon after pulling the man’s body out of the water, detectives were able to identify him thanks to an I.D. tag on his wrist.

The name of the victim has not yet been released, but most of the initial reports we’ve seen say that the man lived in a North Side Chicago nursing home but was reported missing after being discharged from a local hospital on June 19. Current reports have not revealed where the victim lived, but there are a number of facilities located in the Edgewater neighborhood surrounding the 5400 block of North Broadway, including All American Nursing Home and Bryn Mawr Care.

Without knowing more about this particular case, it is difficult to say who, if anyone, is responsible for his wandering and ultimate death. Through our work with nursing home residents and their families, we have handled a number of cases involving resident elopement or wandering. Many nursing home residents who suffer from dementia or mental illness pose an elopement risk, and nursing homes are obligated to provide proper supervision and assistance to reduce this risk. Residents who are unfit to leave the facility but do so may face serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Therefore facilities must be sufficiently staffed with employees who are properly trained to care for residents who have a tendency to wander.

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Earlier this week federal official released updated information on fungal meningitis infections which have affected hundreds across the country. Over the last two weeks we have discussed how this outbreak has spread across the country, with more and more involved patients identified. An NBC News report on Wednesday provided even more sad news. According to the story another four medical patients have died as a result of the fungal meningitis they contracted via the infected spinal steroid injections. That brings the total of deaths to nineteen. RIght now the total infected count is at 247–a significant growth from when we first started discussing this story at the beginning of the month. The sickest patients to start–which likely included some seniors–seemed to face the most trouble as a result of the meningitis.

Amazingly, we still may not be near the end of the outbreak. Officials from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention report that the total number of infection is actually expected to rise even higher. That is because almost 17,000 vials of the steroid may have been sent out, with a majority of them actually used before they were recalled in late September.

National Call for Accountability