Lawyer Resources for Burns

People unable to move are easy targets for dangersMost people will accept the fact that immobile elderly residents need more assistance. We accept that these elderly might need extra help getting out of bed and to the bathroom. However, few people realize just how vulnerable these patients are during an emergency. The small Bas-Saint-Laurent village of L’Isle-Verte will stand as evidence of the dangers that immobile elderly residents face.

What happened?

The small village rests along the snowy southern bank of the St. Lawrence River and is home to only 1,500 people. On January 23, a fire in a senior’s home ended the life of 32 of the residents here. The Résidence du Havre burnt down in a blaze. The recovery effort was also initially hampered because of the sub-freezing temperatures. The -4 Fahrenheit temperatures caused the equipment to freeze.

Burns in Nursing HomesNursing Homes Accountable For Elder Negligence

The incidents of elder abuse have shot up exponentially in the past few years. Where previously elder care homes used to be safe havens for senior citizens of our society, today they have become a nightmare for residents who are left there by their family members. For these elders, who should be revered for their contribution to our lives, living at home with no care and living in a nursing home with emotional and physical abuse is one of the hardest decisions to make.

Nursing homes all across the United States have become wary of the watchful eyes of the Department of Justice and the governing bodies of states that ensure Elder Abuse Laws are not violated. However, despite all the alertness and examples of abuse set forth, nursing homes continue to not only be negligent of critically ill and recovering patients, they even go to the extent of compromising on their welfare at the chance of earning a few extra bucks.

Accidents with CigarettesAccording to reports from CBS Chicago, nursing home neglect might have played an important part in the tragic death of 62-year old Lawrence Lewis. According to the story, Lewis was outside on the patio of the Lake Shore HealthCare and Rehabilitation Centre when his shirt caught on fire because of a cigarette lighter in his pocket. As residents standing around him were trying to put out the flames, they were unable to do so. Confined to a wheelchair, Lewis was unable to distance himself from the fire, meaning he relied on the actions of the center’s staff members to help him. Unfortunately, the staff response was incompetent.

What happened during the incident?

According to the victim’s sister, Lewis burnt from his eyebrows all the way down to mid-thigh. While accidents can occur, especially at a smoking section, part of the problem was the immediate response from the staff members that followed. The security camera footage shows that the staff members were frantic, unsure what to do next. Despite this being a clear emergency with one of their residents catching on fire, there was no clear designated leader, no one who seemed to know what to do next. The standard protocol would be to place a blanket over the person on fire. Doing so would remove the oxygen from the flame, which would cause the fire to die out.

Death caused by Smoking IncidentAnother smoking-related incident has claimed the life of a resident at an assisted living facility in Ft. Myers, FL.  According reports in The News-Press, the 79-year-old resident fell asleep while smoking resulting in his clothes getting lit on fire and causing serious second and third degree burns.  The man was airlifted to a regional medical center where he succumbed to his burns a week following the incident.

Police conducted an investigation into the incidnet and ruled the man’s death to be accidental.

Thoughts from a lawyer who prosecutes assisted living facility injuries:

Fire in Nursing Home Patient RoomJust when I thought I’d seen it all, I just read about a particularly disturbing incident at an Ohio Nursing Home that frankly made me read and re-read the news story to make sure I was truly understanding the details of the event.

According to news outlets, the fire that started in a patient room at Park Haven Home (Astabula, OH) when several people were attempting to mix up a batch of methamphetamine in a make-shift meth lab set up at the facility.

The fire sent several nursing home patients and visitors to the hospital for medical care for injuries related to burns and smoke inhalation.

My heart goes out to the families across the globe who have lost loved ones due to a fire at an Australian nursing home.  The death toll now stands at nine, while many other patients at the nursing home remain hospitalized in intensive care from injuries related to smoke inhalation and burns.

The nursing home fire was believed to have been intentionally set by nurse at the facility.

Lydia Health CareA fire recently forced the evacuation of a large Chicago nursing home.  According to news reports, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago was called out to provide assistance to patients at Lydia Health Care Center in suburban Robbins in the early morning hours following the fire.  

Presently, an investigation is underway to determine the source of this nursing home fire. Lydia Health Care Center is a certificated long-term care facility that primarily cares for mentally ill patients.

For more information on nursing homes in Chicago look here. For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 6.16.57 PM.pngGlenwood Healthcare & Rehab is a large 184-bed facility located just south of Chicago, with an “A” wing and a “B” wing.

According to the government’s Medicare Web site, Glenwood received an overall rating of one out of five stars. While this alone raises several red flags, recent surveys from the Illinois Health Department confirm that Glenwood can indeed be a dangerous place for residents.

What stands out most from the four surveys (completed between August and October of last year) are two appalling incidents of what can only be called extreme negligence.

handicapped smoker.jpgAuthorities are now investigating the smoking-related death of a 62-year-old man at a Chicago nursing home.  The man identified as, Lawrence Lewis, suffered first and second degree burns to more than 20% of his body after his clothes caught fire while lighting a cigarette in an outdoor smoking area.

After struggling with another patient to extinguish the fire, a third person at the nursing home used a fire extinguisher to put out any remaining flames.

The Chicago Fire Department transferred Mr. Lewis to nearby Saint Frances Hospital in Evanston.  Due to the severity of his burns, Mr. Lewis was eventually transferred to Loyola University Medical Center where he eventually died.

smoker.jpgSmoking-related injuries in nursing homes and assisted living facilities remain a consistent threat to the safety of both smokers and non-smokers at these facilities.

Every year, hundreds of residents and employees at these facilities sustain serious burn injuries due to mishaps with smoking materials and fires started when by smokers carelessness.

I was startled by a recent report of a smoking-related fire at an Arizona Assisted Living Facility that was apparently started by a patient who was smoking in his room in close proximity to his oxygen tank.  Not surprisingly, the man sustained serious burns that will require extended hospital treatment.

Justia Lawyer Rating for Jonathan Rosenfeld

Client Reviews

★★★★★
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
★★★★★
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric