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Faulty lift blamed for nursing home death; facility fined

When a family makes the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, one of the worst scenarios is if there is nursing home abuse or death due to something that the staff did. There is also the chance that neglect was the cause of the injury or death. These cases are troublesome when they arise and investigations promise to put a stop to them, but they still happen frequently. If there is even a suspicion that abuse has led to a resident injury or death, knowing how to pursue compensation is key.

An Illinois nursing home was fined $50,000 because a resident died due to the failure of a mechanical lift and other mistakes. It is disputing the fine. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the facility did not make sure that the equipment was working properly and it did not report its issues. In this particular case, the lift was transferring a patient to the bed from a wheelchair when a support loop broke. The woman fell and broke her left leg close to her hip and the right leg close to her knee. After the incident, her condition worsened and she died four days after.

In the investigation, it was found that there was fraying in the loop, missing fabric and exposed threads. The slings of the loop had been checked three weeks prior to this incident, but there was not a regular time frame in which such checks would be made. Five other patients had been in the apparatus when it failed, but no one was hurt, and these were categorized as a "near miss." There was documentation for one of the patients, but it did not specify that that the broken loop led to the fall.

Considering that the manual for the machine says that the slings need to be examined regularly when washed and not utilized when they are damaged, this could be viewed as a mistake on the staff's part for failing to adhere to that requirement. Since the woman died, there is the basis for a legal filing. When this type of incident occurs or there is suspicion that negligence or abuse led to the injury or death of a loved one in a nursing home, the family should not take any chances. They need to contact an attorney to discuss a case as soon as possible.

Source: saukvalley.com, "Franklin Grove nursing home disputing state fine," Kathleen A. Schultz, Oct. 10, 2016

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