Articles Posted in Nursing Home Residents

The Illinois Appellate Court for the 1st District reversed and remanded a decision from a Cook County dismissal order.

Barbara Mickiewicz suffered from dementia and was a resident of the Glenbridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Centre Ltd. in northwest suburban Niles from April 2013 until Feb. 17, 2016.

Although she was never adjudicated disabled, she was considered legally disabled because of her dementia. Mickiewicz suffered several falls while at the nursing home, including the final one on Jan. 27, 2016. After that fall, she was transferred to a hospital emergency room. About 4 months later, she died of complications related to her injury.

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Superior Care Homes resident Regina Tallent was 84 years old and suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, macular degeneration, hand contractures and cognitive deficits.

Her condition required one-to-one care and a mechanical soft diet to prevent choking. Over the course of one month, she experienced two choking incidents while eating a strawberry and a cherry tomato.

The second incident caused Tallent to turn blue and lose consciousness. While she was choking, a Heimlich maneuver was applied.

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Ann Jones, 63, was admitted to Fairlane Senior Care & Rehab Center for rehabilitation after she suffered a stroke. A care plan was established. The plan included Jones’s medical background as an insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetic who was prone to blood sugar fluctuations.

For approximately two months, she received no blood sugar checks or sliding scale insulin adjustments. Worse yet, for several months, Jones rarely received a nighttime snack, which is essential for diabetics.

A doctor revised Jones’s orders and noted that she had uncontrolled diabetes. Despite this late recognition and treatment, the nursing home’s nursing staff chose not to check Jones’s blood sugar for a number of months.

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Opal Moore, 92, suffered from dementia with agitation. After a hospital stay, she was admitted to the memory care unit at Superior Care Home for rehabilitation.

When she was admitted, her family instructed various nursing home personnel and its owner that she had aggressive behaviors, such as spitting and cursing. A care plan was established, which included a psychological consultation.

However, the consultation was not done and her aggressive behaviors increased. Several months after her admission, she spat on another resident in the dining room. A nurse then contacted her attorney-in-fact and requested that the family provide sitters.

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The plaintiff, Godfrey Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home, filed a complaint for services that was given to the defendant, John Toigo. At the time of the complaint, Toigo was a resident in this nursing home care facility. Through his son, Michael Toigo, he filed an answer and included affirmative defenses as to the nursing home’s lack of standing.

The court in Madison County, Ill., erred in entering a default judgment against Toigo on the nursing home’s oral motion for default. The court ruled that as the defendant was denied the opportunity to defend on the merits of his responsive pleadings and denied the opportunity to challenge the nursing home’s affidavit as to damages, the appellate court found that the trial court erred in denying Toigo’s pro se motion to vacate the default judgment.

Godfrey Healthcare served its motion to reconsider, a notice of hearing on Toigo’s former lawyer rather than on Toigo as required by the court order.

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Carolyn Cauffiel was 75 and had a history of pneumonia. She was admitted to the Heartland Rehabilitation and Care Center for a five-month period.

While she was there, she complained of breathing problems. An attending nursing home nurse came to assist her but did not auscultate her lung sounds. Auscultate is a Latin verb to listen to the internal sounds of the body, usually using a stethoscope. Auscultation is done for the purposes of examining the circulatory and respiratory systems (heart and breath sounds), as well as listening to the gastrointestinal system for sounds.

The nurse then told her colleague that Cauffiel’s lungs were clear and that she was “faking it” (breathing problems).

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June Newbauer, 70, lived at the Grace Living Center. She was dropped to the floor as she was being transferred into a shower chair. An x-ray showed no fracture, according to radiologist and defendant, Dr. James Zimmerman.

Another internist reviewed the same x-ray and also concluded there was no fracture.

The following month, Newbauer fell out of bed. Another internist who was called in to examine here did not order any imaging studies despite her leg pain. Four days later, she was correctly diagnosed as having a fractured left femur and knee.

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Edward Arnold was 70 when he was admitted to Whitestone Care Center for rehabilitation after a below-the-knee amputation of his left leg. After he went through dialysis, he was placed in a chair and left alone.

Arnold later fell, fracturing his right hip. The rehabilitation center’s staff then placed him back in his bed. Several days later, he was admitted to a hospital where he underwent hip surgery. Because of the hip fracture, he received additional rehabilitation, but he died months later of unrelated causes.

Arnold’s estate sued the nursing home, its corporate owners and managers, and other related corporate entities, alleging failure to adequately staff the nursing home, corporate negligence and joint venture liability. Continue reading

Ralph Ford, 73, lived at St. Francis Nursing Center. He suffered from cognitive impairment and had a tendency to wander.

On one night, he left the nursing home unnoticed in his wheelchair. He was found early the next day in a Dumpster several blocks away; his limbs were frozen solid. He unfortunately died shortly thereafter. He was survived by two siblings.

Ford’s estate sued the nursing home alleging it negligently allowed him to leave the nursing home through an unlocked, broken and unarmed door and then delayed initiating a search for him for five hours after discovering that he was missing from his room.

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The Texas Supreme Court has held that a plaintiff satisfied the requirements of the state’s Medical Liability Act. The plaintiff offered multiple expert reports in a case alleging that an assisted living facility and other medical providers chose not to timely discover a resident’s missing dental bridge.

Betty Hathcock lived at Village of Lake Highlands, an assisted living facility. She reported the loss of her dental bridge to the facility’s staff members, who searched the facility but did not find it. It was later discovered the bridge was lodged in her trachea when an x-ray was done. She had developed respiratory symptoms that worsened over the course of an evening. Unfortunately, Hathcock died shortly after the discovery of the dental bridge.

Hathcock’s daughter sued the assisted living facility claiming failure to timely discover the missing bridge. To support the lawsuit, the Hathcock family filed four separate expert reports to satisfy the medical liability statute’s requirements, including one report discussing the medical cause of Hathcock’s death. The defendant moved to dismiss the case; the trial judge denied. The appellate court reversed the trial judge, and the case was taken up to the Texas Supreme Court for further consideration.

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