Officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health have imposed a $2,200 fine against North Church Nursing & Rehab after the facility failed to properly supervise a patient at the facility at mealtime and the patient choked to death on her food. The State Journal-Register reported that the investigation into the choking death was triggered by the Morgan County Coroner who was conducting an examination of the patient’s body. Nearly two years before this incident, the same facility (then known as Golden Moments Senior Care Center) a similar incident occurred at the facility when a patient who was to be on a pureed food diet, choked to death on a pieces of ham that were intentionally cut for him by staff at the facility. That incident resulted in an original fine of $50,000 that was subsequently reduced to $32,500 after the facility appealed the sanction. My take: I can appreciate the different levels of facility culpability involved in the two choking incidents— and hence the significantly different fines imposed. Nonetheless, I find the similarities between these incidents occurring at the same facility within a relatively short period of time— to be extremely concerning. As a lawyer who has representing families in nursing home lawsuits involving patients who have choked on food, I seriously question why a facility should seemingly be let off the hook when they failed to learn their lessons just a short while before. If nursing home fines are going have their intended effect of improving patient care, I would hope that regulators look at episodes such at this, with a more critical eye— the second time around.
Related Nursing Homes Abuse Blog Entries:
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Nursing Home Responsible For Choking Death Of Patient