The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting a tragic act of Illinois nursing home neglect resulting in the death of a 62-year-old man who suffered fatal burns while smoking. Although the circumstances surrounding the elderly man’s death are still not completely clear, failing to properly supervise nursing home residents often leads to serious injuries or preventable deaths.
Our Chicago nursing home attorneys know that deciding to place a loved one in a nursing home is never easy, and you should be able to trust that the facility is properly equipped to provide adequate support and attention. However, with just over 1,000 nursing homes in Illinois and more than 100,000 residents to care for, some facilities are ill-equipped to provide the level of care that nursing home residents need and deserve. Often times, nursing homes are strained by budgets and operating at minimum staffing levels, leading to injuries and abuse or neglect.
According to news reports, the 62-year-old nursing home resident was left outside on the patio of his Rogers Park nursing home. The wheelchair-bound man lit up a cigarette and put his lighter back inside his pocket. As the man continued to smoke, somehow his clothes lit on fire. With no nursing home workers in sight, the man and another resident tried to put out the fire, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Eventually a fire extinguisher was used, but it was too late to save the man from suffering lethal first and second degree burns. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, with at least 20 percent of his body covered in severe burns.
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The Rogers Park nursing home is regulated by the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, along with all of the other nursing homes in the state. Under the Act, nursing home and long-term care facilities are legally responsible for preventing nursing home abuse and neglect. Nursing home staffers must follow high standards of care in order to protect vulnerable residents from injury, exploitation, and mistreatment. Our Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers fully understand the implications of the Act and have helped countless nursing home residents and their families injured by nursing home violations. Even an isolated act of carelessness or inattention by a staff member is inexcusable and can lead to serious permanent injuries.
The significance of nursing home liability laws in Illinois continues to grow as our life expectancies increase. It is estimated that at least two out of every five Americans over the age of 65 will depend on the care of a nursing home or long-term facility. It is imperative that nursing homes provide the legal duty of care that is required to prevent severe injuries or death. We know that a nursing home negligence lawsuit is an effective way to hold irresponsible nursing homes accountable for their actions and send a message that neglect and abuse of our loved ones will not be tolerated. Increasingly tight budgets or minimum staffing is no excuse for a nursing home accident that leads to serious harm.