Two members of our team recently reached a settlement on behalf of a family following a preventable nursing home fall in Chicago that led to the untimely passing of a resident. The facts of this case are very similar to those that strike across the city far too often. We hope that more families understand that things like falls in nursing homes are often signs of neglect or caregiving errors that should have been avoided. These facilities must make changes to prevent falls and learn from past mistakes.
Chicago Nursing Home Fall
This particular incident occurred several years ago, in late October of 2007. An 89-year old woman was first admitted into a local nursing home in the summer of that year. Like all residents she has specific vulnerabilities which required around-the-clock care that she could not receive anywhere else. In particular, this resident was known from the first day of admission to be a fall risk. When a resident has serious mobility problems, it is essential that properly tailored care plans be put in place and followed to ensure the resident’s safety. That usually means, as was true here, that the resident receive assistance with any activity that required movement, like leaving the bed, using the restroom, going to the dining hall, and similar events.
Sadly, many residents who need this close help to prevent falls do not receive it all of the time. That is what happened in this case, as the elderly woman sometimes did not have aid when moving. Most significantly, in late October of 2007 the 89-year old resident was left standing alone in the restroom by a certified nursing assistant who worked at the facility. This was a recipe for disaster.
The resident eventually fell, and she broke her left femur in the incident. She was transferred to a local hospital, and a few days later was ordered to have surgery to repair the damage. Surgery always poses some risks, but the possible harm is significantly higher for individuals with vulnerabilities, including this 89-year old nursing home resident. Complications ultimately developed following the surgery, including sepsis, pneumonia, and breathing trouble.
The senior was transferred to hospice care a few days later. She died as a result of complications from the incident about a week after the original fall.
Illinois Nursing Home Fall Lawsuit
The senior’s family members were understandably outraged by the chain of events that led to the senior’s passing. Families should be able to trust that caregivers at a nursing home will prevent serious falls. When they don’t they need to be held legally accountable.
In this case a nursing home neglect lawsuit was eventually filed on their behalf. As the involved parties were interviewed for the legal matter, it was soon apparent that basic standards of care were violated which led to the tragedy. In fact, the Illinois Department of Public Health cited the facility for those violations following its own investigation into the matter.
Fortunately, an agreement was reached with the defendant-facility without the need to go to trial. The family will receive $750,000 from the home for their failure to provide proper care which led to the senior’s injuries and death.
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