It is a story that has affected far too many families. A loved one begins to show serious signs of aging issues, and concerns about wandering, falls, or receiving day-to-day nursing care pile up. Eventually, the care the senior needs becomes too much–husbands, wives, sons, daughters, and others often are unable to provide the assistance necessary. Looking out for their relative’s best interest, they make the difficult choice of finding what they assume to be an appropriate alternative living arrangement. These care facilities are supposed to ensure their loved one remains safe, received the help they need, and are still able to thrive in their golden years.
Sadly, thriving is the last thing many seniors experience. Instead, often as a result of negligence or mistreatment, the seniors suffer various quality of life problems. It sometimes end in serious injuries or even death stemming from that poor care.
That is exactly what seemed to be the case for a family profiled in a recent WPTV news story. Their husband and father had always been full of energy. As a professional wrestling star for more than three decades–from the 1950s to the 1980s–he entertained audiences as his “Chief White Owl” character. As he aged, however, the man began showing signs of cognitive conditions often attributed to aging. Eventually, after beign diagnosed with end-stage senile dementia, his family decided that he needed to be moved into a facility where he could receive the around-the-clock care that he needed.
However, the family was stunned when it began to see the effect that the nursing home care (or lackthereof) had on the once robust and full-of-life professional wrestler. In just over two months at the long-term care facility, the man had lost a staggering 32 pounds. On top of that he was suddenly unable to talk or even walk–things he had no trouble with beforehand. The man had also developed significant bed sores on his heels and tailbone. The family claims that those sores sooon became infected. The infection ultiamtely triggered a serious of medical problems which took the resident’s life.
However, the family did not know about the bedsores until he had already left the facility. It was only later that they learned about the sores, the infection, a previous fall from a wheelchair, the fact that his dentures were lost, and several other incidents indicative of poor care.Tired of complaining about the situation and not getting anything done, the family eventually pulled the man from the home and brought him to a different facility. However, by that time the damage was already done.
Eventually the family filed a lawsuit against the negligent nursing home, seeking to hold them accountable for their misconduct. The case eventually went to trial. Recently the jury returned a verdict in favor of the family, awarding the man’s widow (they had been married for over 50 years) $1.8 million. However, the nursing home is deciding whether or not it will appeal the case, which would delay the family’s receipt of the award.
This case has so many of the tell-tale signs of nursing home neglect: weight loss, rapid deterioration of mental faculties and physical abilies, and the development of bed sores. The lawyers at our firm have worked on countless cases where these issues were a factor. If you live in Chicago or other parts of Illinois and suspect that the care your loved one received at a nursing home was not reasonable, please take a moment to reach out to our office and let us help.
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Illinois Nursing Home Stats from IDPH Report