Mundelein resident, Alla Mavlyanova, 43-years-old and her twin brother, Alex Yadgarov, of Wauconda recently filed a lawsuit against Hampton Plaza Health Care Centre at 9777 Greenwood Ave., according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.
The siblings allege in their wrongful-death lawsuit that the Niles, Illinois nursing home’s employees were not adequately trained to handle a fire in May that killed their father, 67-year-old Igor Shteyn. Niles Police Sgt. Tom Davis said the fire reportedly began in a closet in Shteyn’s room on the third floor of the nursing home and may have been caused by smoldering smoking materials. Shteyn had shared the room with Naum Berdichevsky, 76, who also died in the fire.
After nursing home fires killed 31 residents Congress passed “The Nursing Home Fire Safety Act” (NHFSA) in 2004 requiring automatic fire sprinkler systems in all nursing facilities participating in the Medicare or Medicaid Programs. I’m certain that Niles and the Cook County Fire Code require working sprinklers at every floor in a nursing home.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in May 2008 on state-level nursing home inspections conducted from 2002 to 2007. federal inspectors found that their state-level counterparts regularly overlooked major code violations in the care facilities and missed violations of the gravest nature–those that could put a nursing home resident in immediate jeopardy and inflict actual harm–15 percent of the time.
An investigation is ongoing at this point, but the questions the article raises are very valid. If I were a family member of a resident of this nursing home I’d certainly want to know why the sprinklers or fire alarms didn’t come on and wake the sleeping residents? How did Hampton Plaza’s employees react to this fire and how were they trained to respond to emergency situations? Did they do all they could to save and protect their charges. As nursing home staff they are obligated to provide a “higher degree of care.” And I don’t think they have done that in this nursing home negligence case. Mr. Shteyn’s children certainly deserve to know what happened and why their father died.
In our experience as personal injury attorneys who routinely deal with nursing home negligence and nursing home abuse cases, we know that the biggest problem with nursing homes these days is understaffing. This may have contributed to the loss of lives in Hampton Plaza Health Care Centre fire but offers no consolation to Mavlyanova and Yadgarov for their father’s death.