Our Michigan nursing home neglect lawyers often pursue cases on behalf of the families of nursing home residents who die from choking on food at the nursing home. These deaths are preventable with proper assessments, therapy, food preparation, and observation. When a resident dies from a choking death, the family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Choking On Food Risk Factors for Nursing Home Residents
There are many risk factors which cause nursing home patients to be at risk for swallowing, which can lead to choking injuries. These include:
- History of stroke affecting swallowing and facial muscles
- Muscle weakness affecting swallowing
- Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia which can lead to choking
- Other medical conditions that affect the resident’s ability to chew and swallow food and drink
Assessing Choking on Food Risk Factors
The nursing home staff is required to properly assess a resident for the risk of choking. There are several way to properly assess a patient’s risk for choking or asphyxiation. In residents with medical conditions that pre-dispose them to choking problems or those with a history of choking on food, the nursing home should undertake the following:
- An x-ray or barium swallow
- A visual examination of the esophagus (endoscopy) by a physician
- A swallowing study by a speech therapist
- Observations of the resident eating and drinking by a speech therapist or physician
If a resident is determined to be a risk for choking on food due to a medical condition or swallowing disorder, the facility must take necessary precautions to prevent a choking death from occurring at the facility. This includes a special diet, like soft foods, with food prepared in a way that would eliminate the possibility of choking, assistance with eating, and observation by a trained staff member during meals.
Nursing Home Negligence for Choking on Food
A nursing home is negligent for failing to prevent a resident from choking on food in most circumstances. Staff is required to properly assess a resident, implement an appropriate plan, and supervise an at risk resident during meals. Many times, the injuries from choking could have been prevented if staff was present at the time and properly trained to deal with residents choking on food. A delay in call in an ambulance can also lead to catastrophic and deadly results.
Legal Rights After a Resident Choking Death
When a nursing home resident dies from choking on food, the surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. Our nursing home neglect lawyers will review all of the medical records and the complete nursing home chart to determine exactly where the nursing home failed the resident and family and explain how proper care could have prevented the death. If there was negligence we will file a wrongful death lawsuit.
These lawsuits seek compensation for the loss of the loved one for the family. Settlements include payment for the pain and suffering of the resident from the time of incident until time of death, loss of society and companionship of the surviving family members, medical expenses, and funeral and burial expenses.
These lawsuit also help prevent other similar choking incidents from occurring at the facility at a later date. This protects the lives of other residents.
Free Michigan Nursing Home Neglect Book
To learn more about a resident's legal rights regarding Michigan nursing home neglect, you should request our book "The Ultimate Guide To Nursing Home Negligence Cases in Michigan," written by Lawrence J. Buckfire. The book sells for $14.95 on Amazon but Lawrence will send it to you for FREE.
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