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Nursing home neglect leads to death

There are many quality nursing homes in Chicago, Illinois, that provide the best care for their elderly residents to the happiness of those residents and their families. However, there are other facilities which, by action or inaction, put their residents at risk in ways that constitute nursing home abuse. One of the ways that happens is through neglect, which can manifest via a simple lack of supervision for residents who need to be looked after constantly.

Recently, according to a lawsuit filed by a Champaign law firm, that kind of neglect led directly to the death of a resident who had been left unattended outside a Champaign nursing home by the facility's staff. That resident, who was 78, was left unsupervised in an exterior courtyard on a very hot day in temperatures that reached 87 degrees. Her body was subsequently found in that courtyard, with the cause of her death being hyperthermia. The Champaign County coroner confirmed that the hyperthermia of which the resident died was directly due to prolonged exposure to hot weather and compounded by dementia.

The resident's body was found in direct sunlight, and her skin was described as having been hot to the touch, with clear signs of physical illness apparent on her person to those who found her after her death. She was, according to video footage, in the courtyard from around 1:47 p.m., until at least 5:15 p.m.

The law firm that filed the lawsuit is representing the family of the resident, and alleges that the death was both avoidable and directly attributable to the negligence of the nursing home's staff. Additionally, despite a policy against doing so, the nursing home's staff had propped the doors to the courtyard open.

In this case, and others like it, prompted legal action. Of course, a hope is that the publicity that the case is receiving will prompt other Illinois nursing homes to proactively review their procedures to make sure that they are protecting their residents from harm.

Source: The News-Gazette, "County nursing home sued over death of woman found in hot courtyard," Tim Mitchell, Jan. 04, 2018

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