Did neglect lead to resident's death outside nursing home?

A 94-year-old woman remembered for her deep devotion to her church, friends and family died recently when the wheelchair in which she was sitting rolled down a hill. The accident which occurred outside of a nursing home where the woman was a resident is currently under investigation and has raised questions related to nursing home neglect and negligence.

The Alabama nursing home at which the 94-year-old was a resident was conducting a fire drill. As part of the fire drill, residents were required to leave the building. A nursing home employee was responsible for ensuring the 94-year-old woman, who was in a wheelchair, was safe while outside the building.

After wheeling the woman out of the nursing home, however, the caregiver went back into the building. Upon returning outside, the employee noticed that the wheelchair in which the 94-year-old was sitting had rolled down a hill. The woman had fallen out of the wheelchair and landed in a ditch full of dirty water.

As a result of the accident, the 94-year-old suffered cuts and bruises to her legs and arms. Additionally, she developed pneumonia in the days immediately following the accident. She died three days later.

While police investigators continue to look into the matter, questions may be raised as to whether the nursing home is negligent in causing the woman's injuries and illness that lead to her eventual death.

Families of nursing home residents entrust the care of their loved ones to nursing home facilities and nursing home employees. In this case, time will tell whether the nursing home employee deserved the family's trust.

Source: Decatur Daily, "Woman, 94 dies after mishap at nursing home," Lucy Berry, Oct. 28, 2012

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