Smoking Safety In Long-Term Care Facilities

nursing home neglect

Long-Term Care Resident Left Unattended Dies While Smoking Near Oxygen Tank 

Ohio police in Oakwood Village are investigating the death of a resident from Grande Oaks Nursing Home. The man had caught on fire while smoking a cigarette in his wheelchair outside of the facility. Reports show he was allegedly smoking outside while using an oxygen tank when his wheelchair caught fire. Because staff allegedly were not aware, they did not respond. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until someone driving by noticed the fire and smoke and immediately contacted 911. Local police say they arrived to a smoldering wheelchair parked in front of the building with a male laying on the ground, face down. The man had already stopped breathing and CPR was administered. He later died from his burn-related injuries at a nearby hospital.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) policies show, “Oxygen use is prohibited in smoking areas for the safety of residents (NFPA 101, 2000 ed., 19.7.4). Facilities should ensure resident safety by such efforts as informing visitors of smoking policies and hazards to prevent smoking-related incidents and/or injuries.

Similar Smoking-Related Death Occurred at Chicago Nursing Home 

Although many Illinois long-term care facilities are free of violations and have a proven record of providing adequate care to residents who are in wheelchairs, in 2011 a similar incident occurred. The Chicago Tribune reported a 62-year-old man in a Northside Rogers Park Chicago nursing home suffered severe burns and later died from a smoking incident in his wheelchair. After being left on an outside patio, he lit up a cigarette and placed his lighter in his pocket. The 62-year-old continued to smoke his cigarette when his clothes, unexplainably, lit on fire. Another resident and the man while still in his wheelchair tried to suffocate the fire. The fire was finally put out with the use of a fire extinguisher, but not before the man had suffered first and second-degree burns. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and later pronounced dead from his injuries.

Facilities Are Responsible for Assessment of Each Smoking Resident’s Capabilities 

Our Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers have helped many families following nursing home burn cases like this one. For example, we reached a $1.5 million settlement against one nursing facility after it violated the Nursing Home Care Reform Act and did not monitor a mentally impaired resident who burnt himself while smoking. In another case we helped a family reach a $900,000 settlement against a facility who did not monitor one resident’s unauthorized smoking, resulting in his death.

If you or someone you care for has suffered a similar injury or wrongful death from nursing home neglect, let us help you seek justice for your loved one and your family. Please, contact us now for a FREE consultation at 312-332-2872 in Chicago, toll-free at 1-877-374-1417, or by completing our online case evaluation form.

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