It’s not often that I write about dehydration and malnutrition in nursing homes. That’s not because it doesn’t happen or because it isn’t dangerous. In fact, dehydration and malnutrition are the silent foundations upon which many nursing home deaths are built.
Back in the 1980s, a group of Irish prisoners died during a self imposed hunger strike. Seven died within two months. Without water, a person can’t survive more than a week or two. Without doubt, dehydration and malnutrition wreck havoc on the human body.
In a nursing home, with residents already existing in a weakened state, dehydration and malnutrition often prove fatal even though they are rarely listed as a cause of death. Dehydration and malnutrition are instrumental in the development of infections and bed sores. The associated weakness that comes from dehydration and malnutrition can frequently lead to nursing home falls.
And yet, despite the obvious and well documented dangers that nursing home dehydration and malnutrition lead to, nursing homes like Alden Orland Park continue to allow residents to waste away while in their care.
It’s impossible to say exactly how long the resident at Alden Orland Park was kept without water. It is known that between November 6 and November 13 there are no entries noting fluid intake whatsoever.
Alden Orland Park also waited 9 days before establishing baseline blood analysis.
Typically, a nursing home will draw blood from a new resident and run a battery of tests. Then, every time a new sample is taken, it will be compared to the first results. Because everyone’s blood has slightly different chemistry, it is essential to have a “normal” to compare to.
By the time the bloodwork was drawn, it was clear that the resident was in dire need of help. The results showed nitrogen, creatinine, and sodium levels to be far outside the norm. Yet the woman’s physician was never notified.
After being admitted to a nearby Orland Park hospital, doctors found that she was suffering from dehydration, severe free water deficit, and fecal impaction (another deadly symptom of dehydration).
If you have a loved one who has suffered from nursing home dehydration or malnutrition in an Illinois nursing home, contact our Orland Park nursing home lawyers for a free evaluation of your case. Our Orland Park nursing home lawyers never charge a fee unless they take, and win, your case.