Mother settles lawsuit with nursing home over daughter’s death

As parents begin to age or siblings with severe disabilities begin to require constant care and medical treatment, some Chicago families may choose to put their loved ones in nursing homes where they trust that their loved ones will receive the attention that is needed to survive. Choosing the right nursing home in Illinois can be a challenging task, but once a family finds a place they are comfortable sending their loved one to, a huge weight is often lifted and they may once again focus on spending time with each other knowing that everyone is in good hands.

Nursing home facilities in Illinois and medical staff at the facilities have certainly provided many elderly and disabled adults with adequate care, but mistakes can occur if these facilities and their employees lose sight of what’s most important: the care of the patient. Nursing home negligence can take many forms and result in the serious injury or death of a patient, even when a seemingly simple mistake is made.

Just this month, a jury concluded that a nursing home and its employee were negligent and caused the death of a patient after the employee failed to puree the patient’s food one day. The patient choked to death.

According to the lawsuit, the 56-year-old woman was a patient at a nursing home in Wisconsin. In February 2009, a winter storm prevented all but one of the caregivers who were scheduled to work from making it into work on time. The caregiver was then left in charge of caring for six disabled adults, including the woman who was blind and unable to swallow food well. When the caregiver fed the disabled woman, she forgot to puree her food. While eating the food, the woman choked. The incident left her brain damaged and she died within the week.

This month, a jury concluded that the facility was negligent in the incident and awarded the victim’s mother $1.5 million for damages. The damages the victim’s mother suffered include: medical expenses, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, loss of companionship and punitive damages.

The Wisconsin incident is certainly tragic, but it may also serve as a reminder to nursing home facilities and medical professionals in Illinois that a lot is at stake whenever they deviate from the standard of care. Even if an incident of poor treatment or care seems minor and does not happen frequently, the results of one simple mistake could be devastating.

Source: Today’s TMJ4, “Germantown nursing home lawsuit is settled,” Michele Fiore, Jan. 7, 2012

Nursing Negligence


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