Self-Acclaimed Assisted Living Facility Fails to Repsond to Resident's Calls for Help

The daughter of a 68-year-old man who died after no one responded to emergency cords he pulled in his specially equipped apartment is suing the building's owners.

The man had moved into the assisted living apartments because he wanted to be sure someone would respond if he needed medical assistance, according to a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court. The former railroad employee suffered from severe asthma, and the 64-unit apartment complex marketed itself as "a medically assisted living facility," the suit states.

The resident's unit had three emergency cords, which were supposed to immediately summon medical assistance when pulled. On the evening of June 2, 2007, he pulled cords in two different rooms. The next day he was found dead by his daughter with an oxygen mask resting on his face..

This is not the first time the assisted living apartment facility has faced a lawsuit alleging its emergency medical alert system failed. Three years before a woman died of congestive heart failure after she pulled an emergency cord in her unit and no one came to her aid, her estate claimed in a 2007 lawsuit.

According to this 2007 suit filed by the residents estate, the complex intentionally disabled the emergency pull cord without telling the resident. Instead of calling an ambulance, pulling the cord "merely turned on a light in the manager's office," but "there was no manager on duty to see the light," the suit stated.

Officials with the county's Adult Protective Services could find no record that complex is licensed as an official assisted living facility. If unlicensed, it wouldn't receive regular visits from government inspectors. Adult Protective Services  would not say whether it has investigated the deaths occurring at the plaza. For more, read the story.

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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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