If your loved one suffered injuries or died due to a choking incident at their nursing home, you may wonder whether the nursing home could have done more to prevent the incident. In many cases, the answer is yes.
Nursing home staff should receive adequate training for detecting signs of choking. They should also monitor and assist seniors who may be most at risk, particularly during mealtimes. Seniors in nursing homes may have various medical or age-related conditions that could lead to potentially fatal choking incidents.
Unfortunately, it is not rare for nursing home residents to die or suffer devastating injuries in choking incidents. According to the journal Geriatrics, choking on food is the second-most common cause of death in nursing homes after falls. With between 10 and 20 percent of seniors suffering from swallowing problems, nursing homes should be well aware of the problem and minimize risks of injury and death for residents.
You can contact a San Antonio choking lawyer to determine whether you have a case and could recover damages. Call the legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 842-6336 for a free case evaluation.
Reasons for Choking Accidents
As we age, our bodies change, and sometimes the simplest tasks such as eating and drinking can become potentially dangerous and require assistance. Seniors are particularly prone to developing problems with swallowing that can make it difficult for them to eat, drink, keep food down, and breathe while eating.
Consequently, choking incidents can occur more frequently among the elderly than other age groups. The Mayo Clinic explains how difficulty swallowing, or “dysphagia,” is common in the 65-and-over age group. Suffering from medical conditions such as stroke or dementia can further aggravate dysphagia. Conditions that make swallowing difficult for the elderly can include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cerebral palsy
- Respiratory illnesses and infections
- Age-related decline
- Intubation or tracheostomy
- Dry mouth
- Loose dentures
Problems with swallowing do not only cause frightening choking accidents. Dysphagia can also cause significant health problems for seniors, such as aspiration pneumonia, malnutrition, and dehydration. Other potential complications from dysphagia and choking incidents can include:
- Tears in the esophagus
- Anxiety and fear
- Inability to take necessary medication
In the worst cases, the consequences of dysphagia can lead to premature death.
If your loved one suffered ill health or passed away from choking, you could potentially sue the nursing home and recover compensation. A San Antonio choking lawyer can advise you on your legal options and help you initiate legal action against a negligent nursing home. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to learn more.
The Nursing Home Can Prevent Choking
A nursing home should take action to prevent or minimize choking incidents among residents. A doctor can monitor a resident’s dysphagia and make recommendations for managing the condition, including a special diet for the resident. The onus is on the nursing home to communicate these recommendations to the staff and ensure their implementation.
By law, nursing homes must cater to their residents’ individual needs. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 mandates each nursing home resident’s right to individualized treatment and a care plan meeting their individual needs.
Many reasons could explain why a nursing home and staff have liability for a resident’s health condition or death resulting from choking, including:
- Lack of sufficient staff
- Untrained and unqualified staff
- Neglecting mealtime assistance
- Failing to identify those most at risk from choking
- Failing to follow a medical provider’s advice
- Failing to deliver adequate first aid during a choking incident
To have a case against the nursing home, you must prove the facility’s negligence. The burden of proof will be on you, and while you might know that the nursing home is responsible, you will need to provide conclusive evidence to prove your claim. You will also need to show a direct link between negligence and your family member’s injuries or death. You could provide the following proof to support your claim:
- Medical records showing injury or cause of death
- Staffing records
- Witness statements
- Expert witness testimony
Holding a nursing home accountable can become challenging and complicated. However, a San Antonio choking lawyer can help with this process and gather the necessary evidence to prove your case. They can also investigate a nursing home thoroughly to establish negligent hiring practices or failures to train the staff.
For a free legal consultation with a Choking Lawyer serving San Antonio, call (800) 794-0444
Acting Promptly Can Help Your Case
We understand the temptation of waiting to initiate legal action, especially if your loved one recently died, and you need time to grieve and come to terms with your loss. However, we suggest that you seek legal advice as soon as you can.
Consider that Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003 generally gives you only two years to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. The time starts ticking on the day your loved one suffered their injury or died.
It is also generally easier to research and build a nursing home abuse case against the facility soon after the incident. Acting quickly can prevent evidence from getting lost and witnesses not remembering crucial details. After a year or two has passed, it can also become difficult for your lawyer to obtain the relevant nursing home records and documents.
San Antonio Choking Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help Protect Your Rights
Proving nursing home neglect can be an uphill struggle. While you may know that your loved one has certain rights, and the nursing home has certain responsibilities, you might want professional guidance and direction from a nursing home abuse lawyer.
A San Antonio choking lawyer can determine responsibility for your loved one’s suffering and death. They will work tirelessly on holding them to account. They will fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve for your family member experiencing substandard care and suffering the devastating consequences.
The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is not afraid of tackling tough cases and standing up to nursing homes. You do not have to worry about paying any upfront attorney’s fees when you work with us, as we only collect a fee if you receive a settlement.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now at (800) 842-6336 for your free consultation.