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Nursing home neglect may have caused woman's heart attack

While many California children may wish to care for their parents as they age, this is not always a realistic option for those involved. Whether because of financial, time or healthcare restraints, nursing homes can provide a safe and adequate alternative for care. Sadly, nursing home neglect can be a devastating reality for some residents and their families, who were simply hoping for the best care for their loved one.

In Sept. 2012, a 72-year-old woman who had recently suffered from pneumonia was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. She was put into the ventilator unit and, as ordered by her doctor, was supposed to be hooked up to a ventilator while she slept at night. According to her family, this order was ignored.

The following month, the woman suffered a heart attack and died while at the nursing home. Her family claims that all the warning signs for the woman’s healthcare emergency were ignored. These included a significantly decreased blood-oxygen level, a weak pulse and even visual indications that something wasn't right. Since the woman’s tragic death, the Attorney General’s office conducted an investigation and ultimately indicted multiple employees for charges of abuse, neglect and falsifying records.

This isn't the first time that the nursing home has been in trouble, either. In 2007, the home was cited for failing to take proper care of patients, and the following year, several employees were charged and ultimately convicted of neglecting patients. Nursing home neglect can be truly traumatizing for all those involved, especially when it comes to an individual’s death. In California, the family of a victim who died due to abuse or neglect at a nursing may pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf. Although criminal charges or convictions are not necessary for such a suit, any pertinent evidence with regard to those charges may aid in the successful litigation of the civil claim.

Source: Newsday, "Family sues Medford nursing home, claims neglect led to patient's death", Chau Lam, July 18, 2014

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