Choking incidents can cause serious and life-threatening injuries for elders. If food enters the lungs or if choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, a nursing home resident may suffer serious injuries or even death. Choking cases involving residents of nursing homes are preventable.
If your loved one was injured by a choking incident in a nursing home, a San Francisco choking lawyer may be able to help your family seek justice. For more than 30 years, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has represented victims of abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities all over the United States and worked to hold those responsible for residents’ injuries accountable. Call our office to talk to a member of our staff about what happened to your family member and how our law firm may be able to assist you.
Why Residents in Nursing Homes Are Vulnerable to Choking
Senior citizens in nursing homes often have respiratory illnesses that make it difficult for them to breathe on their own, as well as a variety of other conditions that can affect their ability to eat. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, an enlarged thyroid, and some forms of cancer can make it difficult to chew or swallow. Some medications reduce saliva production, which may increase the risk of choking. Many nursing home residents have difficulty chewing due to dental issues. If a resident needs dentures to eat, and a staff member fails to provide them at mealtime, the facility may be held liable if the elderly resident chokes.
Neglect Can Lead to a Nursing Home Resident Choking
According to the Code of Federal Regulations for Long-Term Care Facilities 42 CFR 483.21, facilities must develop and implement individual care plans for residents within 48 hours of admission. Among other elements, those care plans must include information on dietary orders.
For example, an order from a physician may specify which types of foods a resident should and should not be given and may describe other actions staff members should take at mealtimes. A plan may state that a patient should be served only soft foods or that food should be cut into small pieces or pureed to reduce the risk of choking. An individual care plan may state that a resident who is at risk of choking should be assisted and closely monitored by a staff member during mealtimes.
Many nursing homes are understaffed, which means that residents often do not receive the amount of attention and level of care they need and deserve. Even when detailed plans are put in place to protect residents, those plans are often not followed because employees who are overworked and overwhelmed cut corners or forget individual residents’ requirements.
High turnover can also contribute to choking incidents. New staff members may not be adequately trained on the facility’s policies and procedures and on individual residents’ care plans before they begin working with senior citizens.
Staff members should be trained in how to assist patients with breathing difficulties and other health problems at mealtimes. Employees should be taught how to feed residents, the appropriate amount of food to give at one time, how much time to give a resident between bites, and how to spot signs that an individual may be choking. Employees should also be trained in first aid techniques, such as the Heimlich maneuver, so they will be prepared to respond quickly if a resident begins to choke.
For a free legal consultation with an choking lawyer serving San Francisco, call (800) 842-6336
Pursuing Compensation After Your Elderly Loved One Choked in a Nursing Home
The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can investigate to find out what caused your loved one’s choking episode. We can review his or her medical records, including individual dietary guidelines. Our staff can interview employees and other witnesses and review facility documents to learn whether appropriate procedures were in place and whether they were followed. We can also examine personnel records to find out if staff members received appropriate training on residents’ care plans, feeding techniques, safety protocols, and first aid.
A member of our team can travel to meet with your family in person to discuss the injuries that your loved one suffered due to choking and how we may be able to help.
Victims of personal injuries and their families often hesitate to seek justice because of concerns about legal fees. You do not need to worry about the cost of filing a lawsuit because we cover litigation costs ourselves. We only get paid if we secure a financial award on behalf of a client. Contact us today to speak to a member of our staff and to learn more about what we may be able to do to help.
San Francisco Choking Lawyer Near Me (800) 842-6336
Contact the Office of a San Francisco Choking Lawyer to Learn More
State law limits the amount of time your family has to seek justice. Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1, the statute of limitations to pursue a personal injury claim is two years.
Investigating a nursing home neglect case and figuring out who is responsible for a resident’s injuries can be challenging since many people typically share responsibility for an individual’s care. In addition, nursing homes and their employees often try to cover up cases of neglect, to create the impression that injuries were accidental, or to shift the blame to others.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm does not shy away from tough cases. Our team can conduct a thorough investigation, but it may take a lot of work over a significant amount of time for us to sort it all out and to determine who was responsible for your loved one’s injuries. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we will be able to get to work. Call our office to talk to a member of our staff about what your family member experienced and how we may be able to help you.