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Florida Nursing Home Choking Lawsuit Alleges Wrongful Death

A man from Delray Beach is suing a Boca Raton nursing home for negligence, alleging the staff contributed to the untimely death of his 72-year-old mother, who was staying at the facility while recuperating from pneumonia.forkplate

According to a news report from the local ABC News affiliate, plaintiff asserts his mother suffered from a condition that made it very difficult for her to eat solid foods and to swallow. While plaintiff was talking to his mother over the phone one afternoon, he heard her mumble something about “choking.” Then the line went dead.

He immediately called the nursing home staff to alert them his mother was in trouble. But no one answered the line. Fire and rescue records show there was eventually a phone call to emergency responders from the patient’s room. However, the caller hung up soon after. Dispatchers called back right away, but a front desk receptionist said she wasn’t aware there was any problem. Emergency Medical Responders decided to go anyway. When they got there, staffers weren’t taking any action, such as performance of CPR. Instead, they were “standing around” the patient’s bed. She had apparently not been breathing for approximately five minutes.

Records indicated the staff took no action to clear patient’s airway, which was obstructed with vomit.

The rescue efforts happened too late to save the patient. Her son later said he is still in disbelief and shock, and said he was “devastated” and “horrified” at how his mother spent her last moments.

He has filed a nursing home lawsuit alleging negligence resulting in wrongful death.

Our Boca Raton nursing home negligence lawyers know that when a patient sustains a serious injury or suffers death as a result of choking, the nursing home could be liable. Nursing homes and staffers owe a legal duty to ensure the safety and care of residents. In many cases, elderly patients have certain medical conditions and dietary restrictions that limit what they can eat, how they can eat and the level of supervision required when they do eat. Situations like this one reveal it’s imperative for staffers to be trained in proper feeding. It’s also necessary for facilities to make sure they have adequate staff in order to make sure there is enough necessary supervision.

Many patients who suffer forms of dementia may not understand their eating restrictions. They may rely entirely on the nursing home staff to make sure they not only get enough food and the right kinds of foods but that their eating is closely watched if it’s needed. It’s also imperative someone is nearby to respond immediately if something goes wrong.

A nursing home could be negligent if it knew or should have known a resident was at possible risk for choking, but didn’t take the proper precautions necessary to make sure such an incident was prevented. When a doctor orders dietary limitations and instructions on feeding, nursing homes have a duty to make sure those directions are followed.

In many cases, injuries and fatalities resulting from choking are foreseeable.

Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.

Additional Resources:

Man claims Boca Raton nursing home did not save mother from choking, Oct. 8, 2015, By Terri Parker, ABC-25

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