Having difficulty swallowing is a relatively common ailment in older adults, especially those who reside in nursing homes. As a result, nursing home staff always must monitor residents during meals in order to prevent choking. Plus, some residents must have specialized diets in order to reduce the risk of choking. When nursing home staff members fail to take these safeguards, serious injury or death can result.
Swallowing requires the use of over 50 muscles and nerves, so many different conditions can lead to difficulties in swallowing. For instance, various neurological disorders can lead to swallowing problems, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. Cancer and resulting radiation treatments can affect swallowing, as can Alzheimer’s disease, and in some cases, simply the process of aging. When a patient chokes, food, medication, or liquids enter the windpipe instead of travelling normally through the esophagus. If a choking incident is not resolved immediately, a patient can suffer brain damage or even death due to the severity and length of the restrictions on the patient’s air supply.
A nursing home has a duty to its patients to protect them from choking incidents, by monitoring the patient’s meals and medication intake. If nursing home staff fails to do so, then the nursing home may be responsible for any injuries or death that occurs as a result. It is the duty of nursing home staff to keep patients safe; when they fail to take necessary precautions by properly monitoring patients, there may be a claim for compensation against the individual staff members involved and the nursing home itself.
When an accident causes serious injuries to you or a loved one, the impact can be devastating. Although some accidents are just that – accidents – others are caused by the negligence of another, such as an inattentive nursing home worker or care attendant. Obtaining a settlement from the responsible parties can be more complex and take more time than you realize. If you are in this situation, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Contact Boller & Vaughan today and learn how our Wisconsin personal injury attorneys can advocate on your behalf.