When your loved one is a nursing home resident, you expect the staff to provide the proper care. Most of the time, they do. However, at meal times, the staff’s attention may be on other residents, potentially leaving your loved one the victim of a choking incident.
Some elderly nursing home patients may have a susceptibility to choking because of various health conditions. Any choking incident can have dangerous short- and long-term consequences for the victim, meaning staff must take steps to keep your loved one safe at meal times.
If a choking incident at your loved one’s nursing home led to injuries or a fatality, you have the right to consider hiring a Los Angeles choking lawyer and to seek awards on your loved one’s behalf. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our team is ready to take on the toughest cases. We will defend your rights and stand by your side throughout the process. Contact us today for a free review of your case.
What Is Dysphagia?
When your loved one enters the nursing home, you may hear that he or she suffers from a condition called dysphagia. According to Mayo Clinic, this is a difficulty in swallowing, often involving pain.
A person with dysphagia may feel as if food is sticking in the back of their throat or in their upper chest. This feeling, along with the pain associated with swallowing, can cause the person to become self-conscious about swallowing, leading to nutritional problems and the possibility of choking.
Dysphagia is more prevalent in elderly people, so staff in a nursing home needs to be on the watch for the signs and to be prepared to take steps to help.
Other Choking Risks
A nursing home resident who has asthma or COPD could be at a greater risk of choking. The airway could become inflamed with these conditions, leading to difficulty in breathing. When the victim is suffering from breathing problems already, any sort of choking incident can greatly exacerbate these breathing problems going forward.
Breathing Tube Blockage
Beyond the dangers at meal time, a nursing home resident could suffer a choking incident because of blockages inside a breathing tube.
If a nursing home resident needs a ventilator or a breathing tube to be able to breathe properly, staff must take steps to keep the breaking tube free of obstructions. Staff must follow the proper procedures, or they run the risk of causing a serious or fatal choking incident for the resident.
We Will Work Tirelessly on Your Behalf
As trustworthy Los Angeles choking lawyers, our team has seen all too often just how devastating choking injuries can be for those living in a nursing home. These injuries can lead to long-term health problems and costly medical bills.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we are ready to help you receive a fair settlement for your loved one’s pain, suffering, and bills. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we will not receive payment until the case reaches a satisfactory settlement.
For a free legal consultation with an choking lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Short-Term Choking Effects
Someone who has suffered a choking incident at a nursing home may not believe he or she has suffered significant injuries. However, even slight damage to the tissues inside the throat can cause significant health problems.
A choking incident may lead to a coughing fit for the victim. As someone coughs with food lodged in the throat, the act of dislodging the food through coughing may lead to a scratch or puncture, which could cause significant discomfort for the victim for a period of days or a week or two. A slight tear in the trachea could struggle to heal properly.
Emotional Problems Related to Choking
Even if the victim does not develop any physical issues after a choking incident at the nursing home, he or she could suffer some psychological effects, including mental stress.
The victim could develop a fear of choking again, meaning he or she may become leery of eating or may have difficulty sleeping, any of which could lead to further health problems.
Some of these problems may disappear after a couple of days. Others may linger for several weeks, creating significant problems for your loved one.
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Long-Term Choking Effects
Physical effects related to choking can continue for weeks or months. Because elderly people tend to have a slower healing process than younger people, according to a study published by Dermatologic Clinics Journal, some sort of internal injury related to choking may not heal quickly, causing chronic problems with eating.
Heimlich Maneuver Injuries
If a staff member must perform the Heimlich maneuver on a choking victim at the nursing home, the staff member could save the victim’s life, but he or she could also cause an injury to the resident, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians, such as broken ribs or internal organ injuries.
These types of injuries may not heal quickly, causing long-term problems. With broken ribs, for example, the victim may struggle to breathe comfortably, which can lead to further health issues.
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We Take on the Toughest Cases
Nursing homes have a number of steps they must take to guard against the possibility of choking for residents. They need to have the proper number of staff members on hand at meal times, to have adequate training for workers to handle choking cases, and to be aware of dietary restrictions for each resident related to a possible choking hazard.
You can count on the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to study the facts in the case in an effort to prove that the nursing home staff behaved in a neglectful manner when they failed to prevent the choking incident. We will work to help you and your loved one receive a fair settlement.
With a Los Angeles choking lawyer on your side, you can focus on helping your loved one recover from the choking incident. Let us handle negotiating with the nursing home’s insurance company and collecting the facts. Call us and we will be ready to begin working on your behalf as soon as you hire us.