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Discovery of Body of Missing Bronzeville Woman Highlights Local Nursing Home Deficiencies

It’s a tragic end to a story that should have never happened. On Monday, Chicago Police discovered the body of Ernestine Booker, a 67-year-old woman suffering from dementia who disappeared from her Bronzeville nursing home on October 23rd. Ms. Booker’s body was found at the Sykes Center, a now-closed Advocate outpatient healthcare center at 2545 S. King Drive, approximately 2.5 miles from the nursing home from which she disappeared. The cause of death has not yet been released, but Chicago Police said there is no evidence of a homicide.

While the full details of her disappearance have not been shared with the public, we do know that Ms. Booker left her nursing home unnoticed around 11 a.m. Her family notified the police that same day and Chicago police asked for the public’s assistance in locating her.

When families place their loved ones in the care of a nursing home, the minimum expectation is that the nursing home will keep track of their whereabouts. As we shared in an earlier post, residents with dementia are more prone to wandering a facility or eloping (leaving).

All nursing homes should utilize safety measures to ensure that residents are in safe places, avoiding restricted and dangerous areas such as stairwells, windows, and exit doors.  Some of these measures include:

  • alarmed exit and stairwell doors
  • Using monitoring devices for at-risk residents that notify staff when they’ve crossed the threshold of a restricted area
  • maintaining adequate staffing levels that allow residents to be properly supervised at all times

 

Bronzeville-Area Nursing Homes Have Pending Lawsuits
The nursing home that is allegedly responsible for the inexcusable lack of supervision that led to Ms. Booker’s disappearance and death has not been publicly named by the family or by police. However, there are several facilities in the area near where Ms. Booker disappeared that have a history of poor care and citations. The Illinois state average for health deficiencies found in an inspection is 9.5  Three out of the four facilities described below have at least 2x the number of health deficiencies than the state average.

 

These facilities or nursing home chains also are the focus of current nursing home lawsuits and Levin & Perconti is representing some of these families.

  • Symphony of Bronzeville
    • 2 star overall rating (below average) on Nursing Home Compare, 1 star (much below average) for staffing
    •  23 health deficiencies found during inspections since September 2017
    • At least 5 lawsuits filed by a loved one of a resident against the facility in 2018
    • Numerous others filed against Symphony nursing homes throughout Chicago, including two by Levin & Perconti vs. Symphony of  Chicago West and Symphony at 87th Street:
      • Symphony of Chicago West: Woman was a resident for less than 4 months when she developed multiple Stage IV pressure sores.
      • Symphony at 87th Street: Man who required assistance for all daily activities fell from his wheelchair in dining room and fractured 2 vertebra. He died one month after his fall.
  • Warren Barr South Loop
    • 1 star overall rating (much below average), 1 star for staffing
    • 18 health deficiencies found during inspection in March 2018
    • Levin & Perconti is currently handling 2 lawsuits against Warren Barr South Loop:
      • A 55-year-old woman with a mental disability that developed multiple pressure sores while a resident.
      • A male resident was admitted with his skin intact, but while a resident developed a pressure sore that contributed to his death.
  • Community Care Center
    • 1 star overall rating (much below average), 1 star for staffing
    • 23 health health deficiencies found during inspections since August 2017
    • At least 3 lawsuits filed by a loved one of a resident against the facility in 2018
  • Southview Manor Nursing Center   
    • 2 star overall rating (below average); 1 star  for staffing (much below average)
    • 7 citations issued during health inspection in June 2018
    • At least 2 lawsuits filed by a loved one of a resident against the facility in 2018

 

Chicago’s Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys
The tragic circumstances surrounding Ernestine Booker’s death have yet again brought attention to the fact that negligence and even abuse have become an epidemic within America’s nursing homes.

We also know that Illinois is unfortunately at the center of the epidemic, with a 2017 Office of the Inspector General report finding that Illinois had the most cases of nursing home abuse in the country.

Levin & Perconti is one of the most widely-known and respected nursing home abuse and neglect law firms in Illinois, achieving multiple million dollar verdicts and settlements for individuals and families who have been impacted by nursing home abuse, malpractice, or neglect associated with intentional understaffing.

Our consultations are always free, confidential, and handled by one of our skilled attorneys. Click here to fill out an online request form or call us toll-free at 1-877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872.