Levin & Perconti Attorneys Represent Family of Korean War Veteran Who Died During Veterans Home COVID-19 Outbreak
In a wrongful death lawsuit filed against The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Levin & Perconti Law Firm is representing the estate of 90-year-old Korean War veteran Richard Cieski. In November 2020, Mr. Cieski was a resident who died after being exposed to a COVID-19 outbreak at the state-run veterans’ facility, located at 1015 Oconor Avenue in LaSalle, Illinois.
Levin & Perconti partner Michael Bonamarte said that Mr. Ciskei’s death could have been avoided had LaSalle taken appropriate precautions. That includes preventing breaks in infection control practices, understaffing care worker shifts, relaxed masking orders and disregard for proper hand hygiene, and little or no social distancing in some facility areas.
“After seeing what was happening with outbreaks at facilities nationwide, LaSalle Veterans’ Home had plenty of time to order enough PPE and properly staff the home to care for the residents,” Bonamarte said.
Mr. Cieski passed away just ten days after his family was notified of his positive coronavirus test and two days after officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs inspected the facility.
Investigation Shows Previous Shortcomings in Coronavirus Safety Protocols at LaSalle
The lawsuit was filed April 5, 2021 in the Illinois Court of Claims and alleges that the appropriate measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were well-known when LaSalle’s outbreak began at the start of November 2020.
Levin & Perconti partner Margaret Battersby Black says that state officials must be held accountable to ensure that these failures in access to quality care never happen again.
“There were standards in place that should have been followed and practices that could have been enforced. Appropriately fast and comprehensive response to potential staff exposure to the virus could have saved lives, but, instead, the outbreak spread for 12 days before anyone from the state of Illinois even arrived to investigate it,” Black said.
Current data (April 15) provided by the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and IDPH shows a total of 225 coronavirus cases have been reported at the home since the pandemic began. In addition, 36 LaSalle residents have died from COVID-19.
Veterans Homes Serve Most Vulnerable Patients, Provide Fewer Positive Outcomes in Illinois
State homes for veterans fill an essential need when it comes to nursing home support and long-term care. According to the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, four nursing homes are licensed by IDPH and certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
These state-run facilities are also responsible for having some of the most deficient quality care measures among nursing homes in Illinois. Anna, LaSalle, Manteno, and Quincy have only earned mere 1- to 3-star ratings by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
If a veteran close to you has fallen ill or died because of negligent care while a resident of a nursing home, a patient at a hospital, or a guest or resident of an Illinois state-run facility, the Illinois nursing home and personal injury attorneys of Levin and Perconti can help. Together, we can determine if you have cause to pursue legal action on behalf of them.
How to Request Legal Help from a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney Experienced with Representing Veterans
Levin & Perconti’s abuse and neglect attorneys have stayed committed and working in full capacity during this unique COVID-19 crisis, assisting our most at-risk populations in cases of negligence and abuse in long-term care facilities, including veterans and their families.
If you are considering a legal case against an Illinois veterans home related to COVID-19 or want to share your story to help others, please contact us for a free consultation at 877-374-1417. You can also reach us in Chicago at 312-332-2872. All calls and discussions with our attorneys are confidential.