New information has come to light regarding the death of the 89-year-old woman who froze to death just a short distance from The Arbor, a Chicago-area nursing home. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this matter was a ‘cover-up’ of the death by nursing home staff that was quickly detected by local police. Quite obviously, the staff tried to cover up the woman’s elopement and subsequent death from exposure to make it look like she died from natural causes.
Officers arrived at The Arbor to investigation a report of an ‘unresponsive resident’. Staff at the Arbor told the officers the woman died while sleeping in her bed. Immediately officers became suspicious of the staffs’ claim when they noticed the woman was covered in layers of blankets and was in a hospital gown as opposed to pajamas. Additionally, despite the fact that the woman was in a warm room, her body was cold to the touch.
The nine Arbor employees on duty at the time the woman died gave conflicting accounts of the events leading to her death. Some employees told the police that the woman was fine and sleeping in her bed during a 3 a.m. well-being check, but detectives later learned that check never occurred. The investigation also revealed an employee heard an alarm to an outside door, yet only gave a cursory glance because she was so caught up with an episode of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” on television.
After investigating this nursing home death, authorities believe The Arbor staff panicked after finding the resident outside shortly after a 5 a.m. well-being check, and then some of them conspired to try to make it look like she died naturally while asleep in her bed.
At least four employees – all nurses or nursing assistants – may either be charged or asked to cooperate as witnesses, sources said. They range in age from 30 to 57 and live throughout the Chicago area.
It will be up to the DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett, as to whether criminal charges will be brought. Possible charges include obstructing justice for lying to police. The employee who failed that morning to investigate the alarm while watching television may face the most serious allegation of criminal neglect. No one is expected to be charged with murder.
The woman’s family is has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against The Arbor for this preventable death. With the new information revealed surrounding this nursing home death, it will be interesting to see if this facility will face punitive damages for the criminal acts of their employees. No word yet as to if the the facility disciplined the employees involved in this matter.
Read more the cover-up of this nursing home death here.
For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.
Related Nursing Home Abuse Blog Entries: