Family Sues Illinois Nursing Home for Wrongful Death, Alleging that a Nurse Misread the Decedent’s Medical Records

empty signature lineAccording to recent reports, a 52-year-old woman lost her life at a nursing home following a nursing assistant’s refusal to provide resuscitation and care. According to the records, the woman had not signed a DNR, or Do Not Resuscitate order. This is a legal document that instructs a medical facility to not engage in certain resuscitation methods in the event that the signor becomes incapacitated. If the patient has not signed a DNR, the presumption is that the medical staff should exercise all available methods to resuscitate the patient.

The background of the incident is as follows. The patient was staying at the nursing home facility, located in Highland Park, Illinois, following a recent bout of pneumonia. The patient intended to stay at the nursing home for only a few weeks while she received physical therapy and other recuperative care. The patient had a number of conditions that complicated her recovery, including kidney failure and diabetes.

During her stay, the patient suffered from a bacterial infection known as Elizabethkingia. At one point, the patient coded, which means her heart ceased beating. A nursing assistant who was present referred to the patient’s file but misread the information and falsely believed that the patient had executed a DNR agreement. Based on this false reading of the patient’s chart, the nursing assistant did not call for help or notify any other medical staff members that the patient had coded. After 30 minutes, a staff member realized that the nursing assistant had misread the patient’s file and promptly called 911. Unfortunately, the patient had already passed and could not be revived.

Shortly after the incident, the Illinois Department of Public Health initiated an investigation into the death and cited the nursing home, which included a monetary fine. The family of the deceased woman has filed a lawsuit against the nursing home facility. The complaint includes causes of action for negligence under the Nursing Home Care Act, as well as wrongful death. A wrongful death claim is a cause of action that can be asserted by surviving heirs against the defendant responsible for their relative’s death. The complaint also seeks to hold the health care facility and other related facilities liable based on a theory of vicarious liability. This theory holds an employer liable for the tortious acts that its employees commit during the course and scope of employment.

In response, the nursing home has issued a statement contending that it provides the highest standards of care and that its nursing staff is highly competent.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries while in the care of a nursing home or a similar facility, you may be entitled to compensation. At Therman Law Offices, our nursing home negligence lawyers have assisted many families with seeking justice on behalf of their loved one and as a result, we understand how painful and traumatic this event can be for your family and you. We offer a free consultation to help you learn more about the process and how our team of legal professionals can assist you. To schedule your appointment, call us now at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.

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