Choking on Improper Food Leads to Nursing Home Resident's Death

State officials have fined a senior care center $50,000 for poor care connected with the Oct. 3 death of a 74-year-old resident who choked on food. The resident was developmentally disabled and known to be at risk of choking on food. the State Department of Public Health said that the man wasn't fed a proper diet.

The resident often ate or drank too fast and should have been closely supervised while in the dining room. He also had no teeth which required solid foods to be ground up. On the day of his death he was given ham that was torn into pieces instead of ground which led to the man's choking and dying.

It was clear to the county coroner, who pronounced the resident dead at the nursing home that he had choke to death.  An autopsy found a wad of ham pieces the "size of a tangerine" blocking the man's airway. The coroner filed a complaint with Public Health that triggered the state's investigation.

The nursing home involved in the incident has been fined recently for other violations by the Department of Public Health. The nursing home is currently trying to get the fine reduced. For more, read the story.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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