Rehab Center Choking Death Results in $800k Settlement

Choking Death Lawsuit Settlement Against a Rehab Center

Choking Death in a Rehabilitation Nursing Center Results in $800,000 Recovery

Facts Leading Up to the Rehab Choking Death

Edward S (named changed for privacy reasons) was a 72 year-year-old man diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Edward’s primary doctor recommended “Rehabilitation Center” (name changed) for Edward to adjust to the tremors and muscle stiffness associated with the disease. Due to his underlying Parkinson’s condition, Edward S had impaired swallowing abilities and was at risk for choking on food.

The S family had a care plan meeting with administration at Rehabilitation Center where they discussed the level or care and supervision Edward needed – specifically during mealtimes. Shortly after entering Rehabilitation Center, COVID-19 peaked and set strict regulations for visitors in Rehabilitation Center. The S family struggled greatly with communicating with Edward S and his care team. The S family was also forbidden from visiting, so they had no idea what was going on with Edward’s care.

When restrictions on visitations were lifted, the S family was shocked to find Edward S had lost roughly 70lbs. Edward was diagnosed with malnourishment and dehydration. Rehabilitation Center was not assisting Edward S during mealtime. The S family had a new care plan meeting at Rehabilitation Center and the nursing home administration profusely apologized. The Rehabilitation Center promised to make appropriate changes to Edward’s care, specifically focusing on his diet and nutrition intake.

Despite alerting Rehabilitation Center’s administration, Edward’s overall health continued to decline. Edward reported undocumented falls and incidents of being dropped by Rehabilitation Center staff. Edward also reported Rehabilitation Center staff stealing his personal belongings.

The Nursing Home Choking Incident That Led to the Underlying Lawsuit

In October of 2021, Edward was eating in the dining hall of the Rehab Center. This dining hall was supposed to have staff providing constant visual observation of all residents while they eat. Somehow, Edward was not being supervised, and he choked on his dinner in the dining hall of Rehabilitation Center. Rehabilitation Center dialed for emergency medical services and made attempts to clear Edward’s airway. Emergency medical responders made resuscitation attempts for 40 minutes before pronouncing Edward dead. Edward’s official cause of death was listed as Asphyxia and Choking.

Causes of Death in a Rehabilitation Center Choking Case

Asphyxia is the medical terminology used by healthcare professionals to describe the body’s condition when deprived of oxygen. Victims of asphyxia have a small window of time to receive treatment. In Edward’s case, he required cardiopulmonary resuscitation and oxygen therapy. When the brain is deprived of oxygen due to a victim’s airway being blocked, the brain dies.

Liability in a Rehab Center Choking Death Case

The death of Edward S was a direct result of Rehabilitation Center failing to provide supervision, assistance, and emergency medical care.

  1. First, Edward S was provided improper food given his compromised state of swallowing. If he had proper food, like a mechanical soft diet, he would not have choked to death.
  2. Second, staff should have been watching Edward S, and the other residents, in the dining hall as they eat. There should always be at least 1 staff member present in common eating areas that is trained in CPR as residents choking on food is a common occurrence, and quite foreseeable.
  3. Third, staff delayed in reacting to Edward’s choking incident. If Edward had been resuscitated and provided CPR timely, the food more than likely could have been dislodged and he would have survived the choking incident.

Rehabilitation Center was aware of the level of care Edward S required with eating, and is liable for the choking death of Edward S.

Rehabilitation Center Facility Choking Death Settlement

This choking wrongful death lawsuit against the Rehabilitation Center was settled for $800,000. The name of the facility, and the deceased, have been anonymized to respect privacy.

This $800,000 settlement will not bring Edward S back, or undo the family’s pain associated with the horrific event, but it will change the nursing home’s future behavior. By paying close to a $1,000,000 settlement, Rehabilitation Center will likely change its policies relating to dining hall staff supervision, resident diet, and eating assistance.

Nursing Home Choking Death Case Consultation

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At Senior Justice Law Firm, our attorneys are solely focused on liability cases against nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and assisted living facilities. We commonly pursue justice for families that lost a loved one after they choked to death in a long term care facility. Contact our nursing home choking lawyers today to learn more about your legal rights, and how we can help.

If your loved one has choked or aspirated while under medical care of an assisted living, skilled nursing, rehabilitation center, or hospital, please call the Senior Justice Law Firm at 888-375-9998 for a free consultation. We can help pick up the pieces after a terrible family tragedy.

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