We are all too familiar with the grim statistics on the quality of nursing home care in Illinois, and we are committed to holding negligent and abusive nursing homes responsible for their life-changing misdeeds. One of the types of cases that we handle regularly is choking incidents resulting from inattentive or inappropriate care.
Choking is a leading cause of serious medical conditions and death among elderly nursing home residents. When we breathe in, our lungs push oxygen into the bloodstream, allowing it to move throughout the body. Our heart, brain, and other organs all rely on a healthy supply of oxygen in order to operate properly. Choking results in a reduction in oxygen supply. When we are not able to breathe in oxygen, our organs start to suffer within a matter of minutes. If not remedied immediately, choking can quickly lead to brain damage, organ failure, and death.
In general, lack of supervision from nurses and other care providers is a key factor in many choking cases in nursing homes. Many residents require near-constant supervision – which is why they choose to live in nursing homes – yet often find themselves isolated and abandoned in times of need. For all residents, nursing home staff should be monitoring for choking risks, and should provide supervision and safe food options to protect against the risks of choking.
As with many of the dangerous conditions faced by individuals living in nursing homes, choking hazards typically can – and should – be avoided. Nursing home staff and administrators are responsible for providing safe living environments, and are obligated to provide care and supervision consistent with each patient’s prescribed care plan.
However, even if a nursing home resident’s care plan does not specifically outline needs relating to possible choking risks, care providers still must take appropriate measures to protect against possible hazards. If a resident is choking, they must take prompt, effective action to protect his or her wellbeing.
At Malman Law, we have decades of experience helping elderly victims and their families collect financial compensation for choking incidents occurring in nursing homes in the Chicagoland area and throughout Illinois. In choking cases, it is critical to take action as soon as possible. If you or a loved one has suffered a decline in health after experiencing any of the following symptoms, we encourage you to contact us right away:
We have a nurse on staff who has over 30 years of experience working in nursing homes, and we maintain close relationships with physicians and other medical professionals who can help us quickly assess the causes of nursing home injuries. If it appears that inattentive care, a staff administration failure, or other form of negligent or abusive care is to blame for your choking incident, we will take aggressive action to win maximum compensation for your injuries.
Residents of facilities that participate in the Medicare program enjoy the following federal rights:
Most of these rights also apply under state law, even for nursing homes that do not participate in the Medicare program.
Yes, you can, because human rights don’t need contractual support. If you were hit by a car, for example, you wouldn’t have to prove that you had a contract with the driver not to hit you in order to win a lawsuit against him or her – you could sue under general tort law principles, just as you can in cases of abuse and neglect in a nursing facility.
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act defines the rights under state law that your loved one enjoys with or without a contractual arrangement with the nursing home. Federal regulations also apply if the institution participates in the Medicare program. Proving that the facility violated an applicable regulation will go a long way toward establishing their liability for compensatory damages. In cases of outrageous conduct, you might even be able to collect punitive damages against the nursing home. Of course, if there is a contract, a contract claim could be added to other claims arising from the abuse or neglect.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is the state agency responsible for enforcing the law in favor of the more than 100,000 nursing home residents residing in over 1,200 facilities in Illinois. The IDPH licenses these facilities, conducts inspections at least annually, and cooperates with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for eligibility to participate in federal payment reimbursement programs.
The IDPH maintains a Nursing Home Hotline (800-252-4343) for complaints. Upon receiving a complaint of abuse or neglect, the IDPH’s Bureau of Long Term Care may launch an investigation. Although it does not participate in lawsuits, it can sanction or even close down homes that violate the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act or federal regulations. The results of its investigation can be used as evidence in a civil lawsuit against a home or an employee.