Jury Finds Nursing Home Negligent in Choking Related Death

A jury has sided with the family of a deceased nursing home patient after an eight-day trial. The nursing home resident, a wheelchair user, died in 2008 after a hard meatball got stuck in his windpipe at lunch. The man had a swallowing problem and other health issues stemming early stages of dementia and a stroke-like condition.

When the one staff member in the nursing home dining room home noticed the man was choking, she didn’t know the Heimlich maneuver, instead she wheeled him 40 feet to the nurse’s station. The plaintiff said the movement of the choking man's wheelchair contributed to the meatball descending farther into his windpipe.

Nurses unsuccessfully tried to remove the food from the man's windpipe and waited 12 minutes before calling 911. EMS arrived quickly, the plaintiffs said, and found minimal life indicators. A paramedic removed the meatball with forceps but the man died hours later at the hospital. 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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