The Trib Local reported late last month on the tragic death of a 97-year old Elmhurst man, Raymond Urbans, who drowned while in a hot tub at a retirement community. Mr. Urbans was a beloved member of the community, and he was even honored in the past for his many years of tireless volunteer work. The case is another local example of the need for proper safeguards to be followed at all times to ensure preventable accidents are avoided that harm area seniors.
At first there was little information available on the passing, and it was unclear if foul play was involved. However, the DuPage County Coroner’s Office eventually released a preliminary report which indicated the death was due to drowning; third party involvement was not suspected. Yet, a full report on the cause and manner of death is not expected for another eight to ten weeks.
Our Illinois elder neglect attorneys know that it is vital that a full investigation be conducted to determine exactly how this was allowed to happen. The need for more information is made even more crucial considering the unique circumstances of this accident. For example, a follow-up story from my Suburban Life indicated that the local police chief noted that another person was in the hot tub at the time. Other people were also at the scene at the time of the drowning.
This raises the obvious question: How could a senior drown in a hot tub with others in and around the water? It seems nonsensical. Yet, it is not as uncommon as most might think. Each Chicago senior neglect lawyer at our firm has worked on cases where accidents caused serious injuries and even death while others able to help were mere steps away. Unfortunately, basic caregiving steps are often ignored a various facilities–from nursing homes and assisted living centers to retirement communities.
Proper observation is a central component of reasonable care. That is especially true in certain situations where the risks of harm are higher, like when a resident is in the bath tub or hot tub. Failing to properly monitor the situation can easily lead to serious harm. Seniors have unique vulnerabilities, and so tasks that would pose little risk to younger individuals may be quite dangerous for a senior. The entire point of living in certain locations–like a retirement community–is to have those unique living circumstances taken into account.
Senior living facilities have an obligation to provide reasonable care to residents at all times. While many facilities do a great job of assisting those who need day-to-day support, even a single lapse in proper observation or oversight can be the difference between life and death. When seniors are injured in our area in these ways it is important to visit with an Illinois elder neglect lawyer to explain the situation and ensure changes are made to prevent similar harm in the future. Seeking legal accountability in these situations is not about “getting even” or pointing fingers–it is about respecting those hurt and helping others in the future.
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