Nursing Home Resident Dies Because Staff Not Trained in Heimlich! Jury Awards $2.35 Million

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

            This appalling case is from an out-of-state nursing home and really scares me.  It is hard enough to bring out loved ones to nursing homes that siphon money away.  It is even harder to know that they are not doing a good job with all that money and can’t even train their staff correctly and to be more cognizant of the resident’s restrictions! 

             I hope this case is an impetus for STRICTER regulations and oversight.  I know it is hard to do, but this case should never have happened!  We fight and argue for the tort reform and to limit damages caps on medical malpractice and personal injury, but look at the outrageous behavior by nursing homes and hospitals.  If they spend the few hundred dollars to train their staffs correctly, they would never have to pay a multi-million dollar verdict!!  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Unfortunately in this case, no cure could save the resident.

            A resident who was just 56 years old (!!) was eating his dinner when he began to choke on a meatball.  The meatball had done down into this trachea instead of his esophagus, and would not come un-lodged easily.  The nurse who was in charge of overseeing mealtime was NOT trained in the Heimlich maneuver but instead moved him to the nurse’s station as he was actively choking to get more help.  When another nurse tried to help, the forced air into his lungs and only pushed the meatball down further making it even harder to get out!

A full twelve… TWELVE minute passed because the nurses called 911!  When paramedics arrived they removed the meatball with forceps immediately but the resident died four hours later in the hospital.  He had been with no or little airflow for almost 30 minutes at that point!

It turns out that he never should have been allowed food like meatballs because he had a swallowing problem in the first place, but oversight at the nursing home was so poor they did not monitor him closely enough.

The jury awarded his family $1.5 million for pain and suffering, and $850,000 for loss of past and future companionship.  Money will never help the family cope for his loss at such a young age of 56, but hopefully this large sum WILL snap the nursing home—and others like it—into shape to make sure they train ALL their staff in such basic procedures.  Just the fact that he should not have even been eating the food that ultimately caused his death should be a sign that something is wrong.  And a delay of almost 15 minutes before calling for help is unbelievable!

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com .  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com. 

 

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