An investigation into the remarkable number of deaths that has occurred at the Champaign County Nursing Home will be conducted by administrators of the facility. At least 47 residents, and perhaps as many as 60, have died since December 1st, a number that is far outside the usual number of residents who pass away over the course of a few months. In a typical month, five residents of the facility pass away.
No doubt to some, even five seems wildly high. However, because the facility is extremely large (243 beds) and is also a hospice, five is probably not a high number. Hospice care differs from a hospital because hospice focus on end-of-life comfort care. People in hospice care aren’t expected to get better. They’re expected to pass away in peace and comfort.
Five may not be a high number, but 47 certainly is. It’s nearly three times the average.
Despite the number, the Champaign County coroner doesn’t seem to be alarmed. In an interview with the News Gazette in East Central Illinois expressed little alarm saying:
“I went to see if we had three deaths on the same shift or four deaths in a certain period and it seems to me that they were pretty well consistently spaced out over the last two or three months,” he said. “Just looking at the numbers and what I know, I don’t see anything on the face of it that says I should be overly concerned about anything at the nursing home.”
Picking quotes out of a newspaper can often be problematic. A single quote can be published out of a long interview, making it seem as if the subject missed a point that may have been repeatedly made but not published. However ,since I don’t have access to the entire interview, I can only base my opinion on what is presented.
Based on the newspaper article, it seems as though the coroner is concerned with an “angel of death” or “angel of mercy” killer. These are serial killers who find positions in nursing homes or hospitals and choose victims who are weak or sick.
My concern is that the possible cause of so many deaths is simple nursing home neglect. Nursing home residents are extremely fragile and require round the clock care. When they don’t get that care, their health declines precipitously. That’s why simple issues like understaffing cause so many serious health problems.
If you have a loved one who recently passed away in the Champaign County Nursing Home, and you think they may have suffered a wrongful death due to nursing home neglect, contact our Chicago nursing home lawyers for a free and confidential evaluation of your case.