Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Failure to supervise patient forms basis of wrongful death claim

Nursing home patients face a number of hazards that do not affect the general hospital patient population. Nursing home patients are prone to falling in hallways and bathrooms. Elderly patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease or dementia are at risk for failing to take medications and failing to follow caregivers' orders. These hazards place special burdens on the staffs of the nursing homes, but the law in Illinois requires nursing home employees to recognize their patients' special needs and to provide proper care. As a recent lawsuit demonstrates, the staff's alleged neglect in a Chicago nursing home can have tragic results.

The estate of a woman who died while she was a patient in the Southpoint Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has begun a lawsuit charging that the nursing home staff was negligent in the care of the woman and that the negligence caused her death. The lawsuit alleges that the elderly woman fell because the staff did not provide supervision that could have prevented the fall. The complaint also alleges that the fall caused the woman's skin to deteriorate and that the staff did not provide proper treatment for this condition. The nursing home has not yet filed its answer to the allegations of the complaint. The case was filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

This case will turn on whether the nursing home staff violated the standard of care for such institutions and their staffs. In other words, was the care that the nursing home provided to the deceased woman was reasonable, given her mental and physical condition? The answer to this question will depend upon eye-witness statements, medical records, nursing home records and the opinion of experts. The case is months from resolution.

Anyone who has a loved one who is a nursing home patient and has not received adequate care may wish to consult with a lawyer who is experienced in pursuing claims for damages in such cases. Such a consultation can provide a useful evaluation of the facts and law that apply to the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering and loss of companionship.

Source: Cook County Record, "Shortcomings in woman's care alleged at Southpoint Nursing and Rehabilitation Center," Louie Torres, March 3, 2017

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