A Vallejo nursing home staff’s negligence caused a resident to choke to death, state investigators ruled as they cited and fined the facility in connection with the incident. According to a news article in the Times-Herald the AA citation issued to Crestwood Manor skilled nursing facility carries a $100,000 penalty imposed by the California Department of Public Health.
The patient suffering from dementia was reportedly on a pureed diet and was considered “high-risk” for choking and had a history of trying to stuff food into his mouth. The AA citation essentially means that the nursing home’s negligence was directly responsible for the man’s death. The report also says it is not known how the man got the roll, which was available in a vending machine.
Clearly, this was a preventable death. Either the nursing home staff wasn’t paying attention and left this elderly resident to himself in the dining room or the nursing home was not sufficiently staffed to attend to and take care of all of the facility’s patients. Families place their loved ones in nursing homes believing that they will get a superior quality of care and attention than if they lived in their homes.
But in California or elsewhere in the United States, this isn’t always the case. A 2003 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that one in five of all nursing homes in the United States is plagued by serious deficiencies that “caused their residents actual harm or placed them in immediate jeopardy.” Nursing home advocates and state officials who investigate these nursing homes, agree that the biggest problem across the board is nursing home understaffing.
We see these problems because large corporations that run these nursing homes put profits ahead of people. I hope the family of this choking death victim takes this California nursing home to court and makes them pay for their serious wrongdoing. Our firm has pursued and is continuing to pursue many of these negligent nursing home facilities to get justice for our clients who trusted their loved ones to these so-called skilled facilities, but had that trust broken.