Nursing Home Fined After Resident with Swallowing Problems Choked To Death

Officials in one state are investigating the March death of 82-year-old developmentally disabled woman who choked on marshmallows at the nursing home where she lived. A nurse had improperly advised a visitor that it was okay to give the woman two marshmallows as she sat in her wheelchair in front of a nursing station.

The resident became unresponsive and lapsed into cardiac arrest, according to an inspection report by the Department of Public Health. She was successfully resuscitated, but died two days later at a hospital. The health department fined the facility $650 in connection with the incident.

The resident was know to suffer from dementia, schizophrenia, diabetes, and dysphagia, or difficulty in swallowing. According to the Department of Public Health, she was on a ground-food diet and needed to be given cues to swallow. The nurse who gave the visitor permission to give the resident marshmallows was fired for failing to follow physician's orders, swallowing precautions, and standards of professional practice. 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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