When a family places their trust in a nursing facility to take care of their loved one, they expect will be attentively looked after and treated with respect. This includes ensuring that patients eat properly without choking or being unable to swallow.

Unfortunately, mistreatment, neglect, and other abuse do arise in care facilities throughout the state, sometimes with severe and even deadly results.

A lawyer familiar with claims arising from choking in Michigan nursing homes could help if your loved one has suffered due to a staff member’s neglect.

A skillful attorney could investigate the circumstances of a case and determine if you could file a lawsuit against a care facility for their negligent behavior.

The Responsibility of Nursing Home Staff to Prevent Choking

Nursing home staff members need to be diligent in their jobs. Most or all staff members are required to be certified in basic life-saving skills, such as the Heimlich maneuver or other techniques to help a choking patient. This is an important skill, which staff must rely on in a moment’s notice.

Furthermore, staff must not only have the necessary skills and knowledge to help a resident who is choking or having trouble swallowing, but they also must take other precautions to prevent it from happening in the first place. This includes:

  • Monitoring residents while they are eating
  • Cutting residents’ food into small bites
  • Helping residents avoid foods they could choke on
  • Thicken liquids, as directed, for residents who have difficulty with swallowing

When nursing home staff in Michigan fails to take these and other precautions, residents who require special care and attention are at an increased risk for choking. By not adhering to the standard of care owed to each and every resident, a staff member’s negligent behavior could become the center of a civil lawsuit—especially when a resident suffers severe injuries or death.

Filing a Michigan Nursing Home Choking Lawsuit

You can sue a nursing home if a resident died from choking due to negligence by the staff. Common reasons to file a lawsuit include:

  • Improper training of nurses and aide’s for feeding residents at risk for choking;
  • Failing to properly assess a resident’s ability to swallow food and liquid;
  • Not providing the proper diet based upon the resident’s swallowing issues;
  • Keeping the same diet after a swallowing disorder has been identified;
  • Lacking proper supervision during meals;
  • Allowing the resident to eat in bed in an inclined position;
  • Improper assessments by speech and language therapists in diagnosing a swallowing problem, like dysphagia;

The lawsuits seek to hold the nursing home accountable for the harm caused by choking or asphyxiation. Recoverable damages include pain and suffering and harm caused by the injury.

In cases involving death, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. These cases demand compensation for the pain and suffering of the decedent prior to death and the loss of companionship of family members. Claims are also made for payment of medical bills and funeral expenses.

Michigan Nursing Home Choking Case Study

The family of a resident filed a wrongful death lawsuit against his nursing home.

The resident was identified as a choking risk because of a recent stroke. He had difficult swallowing and had dietary restrictions. However, he was fed a meatball by the staff and it became stuck in this throat.

Despite clear signs of choking, the staff was slow to perform the Heimlich maneuver. By the time EMS arrived, it was too late to save him. He choked to death.

The nursing home refused to settle the case and it went to trial. A jury awarded his family an award of $2.35 million.

How Much Time Do I Have to Sue a Nursing Home?

For cases alleging abuse and neglect in a care facility, a potential claimant has two years from the date of the incident to take legal action. The period may be extended to up to five years for cases involving death.

While exceptions might exist to this time frame, reaching out to a qualified lawyer who is familiar with claims arising from choking in Michigan nursing homes might be essential for a potential claimant.

Our Lawyers Sue For Choking in a Michigan Nursing Home

When a loved one suffers a severe injury in a care facility, you are likely to be traumatized and overwhelmed. Beyond this, you might be unaware of your options or the legal recourse that may be available to you.

However, a well-versed lawyer who has experiencing handling claims based on choking in a Michigan nursing home could help.

The legal system that must be navigated to file a claim is nuanced and complex, requiring extensive knowledge of the law.

By choosing a lawyer at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., you can rest assured that you have an experienced ally on your side.

To schedule a consultation, call today.

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