A widow is suing the nursing home where her husband, a patient, died last year after his clothes caught fire when he was smoking on the balcony, has filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit, alleging both the facility and the county are responsible for violating federal regulations, resulting in her husband’s death.
Plaintiff’s attorney explained to the Philly Voice that decedent had been diagnosed with a number of diseases and ailments that necessitated assistance with many basic tasks. Yet, he was allowed to smoke unsupervised on the day of his death. Records show plaintiff was being treated for Parkinson’s disease, brain disease and bipolar disorder. He needed help to eat, dress and bathe. On the day of the fire, he was smoking a cigarette alone on a balcony at the facility, when his clothing caught fire. He was almost immediately engulfed in flames. He was seriously injured and died about a month later of those injuries, after enduring tremendous pain and suffering.
Smoking in nursing homes is a hot-button issue. Although cigarette smoking is becoming less prevalent in younger generations, thanks to education and awareness campaigns that accurately warn of the danger, older generations didn’t have that benefit – or often the same restrictions. Many long-time smokers may be in poor health, but they remain passionate about their right to smoke – and that doesn’t necessarily change just because they have entered a nursing home. Every center may have varying policies, but those that do allow smoking by residents have a duty not only to protect the smokers, but to balance those rights with the health and safety of other residents and staffers. Continue reading →