A variety of factors can cause choking in nursing home settings. These include but are not limited to:
- Consuming portions of food that are too large or difficult to chew
- Medical conditions that affect the ability to eat
- Medication side effects that affect motor control, alertness, or appetite
- Dentures or other oral fixtures
- Lack of supervision while eating
- Accidental inhalation
If you or a loved one is living in a nursing home, there is trained staff that oversees meals and nutrition and supervises residents while they are eating. Unfortunately, sometimes mistakes happen. If a nursing home facility or staff members are not caring for residence in an appropriate manner, this could be deemed a form of negligence that is legally punishable.
Why Choking is Dangerous
Choking is defined by Mayo Clinic, as “when a foreign object lodges in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air.” Choking can cause very serious injuries, permanent damage, and even death. StatPearls reported that in 2015 alone, over 5,000 people lost their lives due to choking. This same study found that of these victims, over 50% were over the age of 74.
Victims can also suffer emotional effects from choking such as fear and anxiety while eating, which can in turn affect overall nutrition and health. Injuries like fluid build-up in the lungs are also possible. Choking is very dangerous for everyone but can be particularly hazardous for the elderly.
Risk Factors for Elderly Adults
Elderly adults, like nursing home residents, are at a particular risk of choking for a variety of reasons. One potential reason is physical or mental impairments. Some older adults might have difficulties chewing or could be suffering from a disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia that causes confusion and eating difficulties. It is imperative that caregivers, like nursing home staff, supervise residents with potential eating challenges in order to make sure their food is administered safely.
Another risk factor for older adults is the side effects of medication. Many nursing home residents take several medications, and some of these medicines can have side effects that can cause drowsiness or difficulties with movements. Falling asleep while eating due to a medication can be very dangerous and might lead to choking. This is why it is so important that the nursing home staff properly supervise residents.
Choking is usually accidental, but some cases of choking are preventable. If a caretaker or other nursing home staff member was at fault in a choking accident, there may be legal action available for victims and family members.
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When choking is caused by a third party, whether due to negligence or for another reason, sometimes victims choose to take legal action. In these cases, determining liability is very important. If your loved one has suffered from a choking accident while living in a nursing home, another party could be liable.
Failure to appropriately supervise, administer food and/or medication properly, or react in a timely manner are also possible forms of negligence and could be grounds for legal action. You can seek compensation for your damages, and you can consult a personal injury lawyer for more details.
Compensation for Victims
If someone you love has suffered from a choking injury or lost their life due to choking in a nursing home setting, you could be entitled to compensation following a successful legal claim or suit. There are many causes of choking in nursing homes, and it is possible that neglect or abuse played a role in the suffering of your loved one and family. Some victims are able to collect compensation in the form of reimbursement for medical bills and legal fees, pain and suffering, and more.
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Filing a Legal Claim
Dealing with a choking accident can be devastating in so many ways, and it is often overwhelming to consider legal action during this difficult time. However, if your family was affected by a nursing home choking accident, remember that you have options that could help you pursue justice and ease your financial burden related to the incident.
To learn more about filing a lawsuit or pursuing an insurance claim, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 712-9119. A member of our legal team is available to answer your questions and help you decide on the best path forward. Take action today so you can begin focusing on tomorrow.
Call or text (800) 712-9119 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form