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Nursing home incident potential wrongful death case

The care that Alzheimer's patients require is often complicated. Because of their medical condition, they may fall victim to environmental aspects of facilities in New Jersey and other areas of the country that seem relatively innocuous to others. Unfortunately, an out-of-state woman passed away in what could be a case of wrongful death. State officials have recently ruled that their nursing home in which she lived was negligent.

The 90-year-old woman was known to wander. On the day of her death, she reportedly wandered into a laundry room at the nursing home facility and fell into a recessed basin used to collect used water. The temperature of the water is kept at 155 degrees to ensure that the laundry is properly disinfected. She was discovered by a nursing assistant who claims the woman was alert and quietly calling for help.

She was transported to the hospital with second-degree burns to a large portion of her body but passed away the next day. A report released by the Health Department faulted the nursing home because the laundry room door was both unlocked and unattended. The woman's death prompted a change of procedure at the nursing home; staff are required to keep the door locked unless they are in sight of the door, and a screen was installed over the basin. Family members reportedly discussed whether the woman could safely remain at the facility just weeks before the accident; they claim that representatives of the nursing home assured them that she was appropriately placed.

In a nursing home setting, employees of the facility must examine all aspects of the environment and ensure that residents are safe at all times. As this case illustrates, failure to do so can have serious, often fatal, consequences. Families in New Jersey who have gone through a similar experience are often interested in their options in holding negligent facilities responsible for their actions. For many, this includes filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: startribune.com, "State: Chaska nursing home negligence killed resident who fell into 155-degree laundry water", Paul Walsh, April 27, 2017

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