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Illinois nursing home sued after patient freezes to death

It has been over a year now since an Illinois nursing home resident wandered outside of her facility and froze to death. The woman’s family announced last month that they are pursuing a wrongful deathlawsuit against the McHenry nursing home.

The family says the nursing home had promised to provide 24-hour security for residents. However, no one noticed that the woman had gone outside on her own in the middle of winter. The nursing home did not have security cameras installed to monitor the facility. And workers did not locate the missing patient until 12 hours had passed. The family claims the facility’s security was inadequate, and as a result, their loved one suffered a tragic death that could have been avoided had the woman been properly monitored by nursing home workers.

The family filed the lawsuit against the nursing home on Feb. 6. According to the wrongful death lawsuit, the victim suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and had wandered outside her building through an exit door that was located near her room at the nursing home. The exit door did not have an alarm, and no one noticed that the woman had opened the door. When the door closed behind the nursing home resident, it automatically locked.

The Alzheimer’s patient did not know how to get back inside the building by herself, and no one knew that she had wandered outside on her own. The patient was stuck outside by herself when it was only seven degrees out, and as a result of this, the patient froze to death. Her death could have been prevented had she been found by nursing home workers in a timely manner. However, the patient was stuck outside for nearly 12 hours before her body was found.

The family is seeking compensation for damages. The family hopes that their lawsuit will prevent similar tragic deaths from occurring at nursing homes in the future.

Source: 5 NBC Chicago, “Family sues in frozen patient case,” Natalie Martinez, Feb. 6, 2013


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