A resident at the Presence Villa Franciscan nursing home in Joliet, Illinois choked to death while eating unsupervised. He was transferred to a local hospital and died nine days later having never recovered.
The resident was assessed for choking risk upon admission to the nursing home. A note in her clinical record stated that she was a “risk for choking, aspiration, dehydration, and malnutrition.” The resident was to be assisted with all meals, but, according to the report, the assessment did not document the extent of the assistance.
The certified nurse aide (CNA) who delivered what would become the resident’s final meal indicated that he brought the meal to the resident, cut the food into bite-sized bits, and left her to eat unattended. Clearly, this wasn’t the first time the resident had eaten alone.
Safety is an issue that cuts to the heart of many nursing home neglect cases that involve nursing home falls, choking, or other “instant injuries.” Instant injuries are episodes of nursing home neglect that result in an injury that happens over a very short, or immediate, period of time. A nursing home fall, for example, would be an instant injury. A bed sore developed over time or malnutrition would not be.
The attorneys for the nursing homes often argue that because staff have performed an action repeatedly, the action was safe. It’s a similar argument to a drunk driver thinking that because he or she made it home safely, the decision to drink and drive was the right decision. The average person arrested for being intoxicated while driving has made the same mistake dozens of times before being caught.
If you have a loved one who has been injured in an Illinois nursing home, and you feel that nursing home neglect played a role in that injury, you can talk to me or one of my colleagues for no fee and no obligation.