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New York Nursing Home Choking Injury Lawsuits

New York Nursing Home Choking Injury LawsuitsEven a seemingly ordinary bodily function like swallowing can be a challenge for an older nursing home resident. While failing eyesight, poor balance, and hearing loss are symptoms often associated with aging, a frequently overlooked side effect is difficulty swallowing. In fact, statistics from the National Safety Council suggest that choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury or death, and that of the 5,051 people who died from choking in 2015, 2,848 were older than 74. 

Most choking accidents in nursing facilities are preventable if the staff follow procedures and protocols. Nursing home residents with afflictions need special assistance with eating so they don’t choke on their food, and staff should assist them in ensuring that they can swallow properly. Ultimately, failing to implement suitable dietary restrictions and monitor residents while eating is a type of nursing home abuse and can lead to severe injury or death for nursing home residents.

If a loved one died as a result of choking in a New York nursing home, you might be able to retain compensation from the at-fault nursing home with the help of an experienced New York nursing home choking lawyer at Dalli & Marino.

Why Are Nursing Home Residents in Jeopardy of Choking?

In general, older residents are more vulnerable to choking than younger, healthier people. Some explanations include the following:

  • Neurological disorders: Many neurological disorders can affect an older person’s ability to swallow, such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s disease.
  • A lack of saliva: Compared to young adults, senior citizens produce less saliva during the aging process, making swallowing and chewing more challenging.
  • Dentures: Many elderly individuals suffer from dental issues—including poorly fitted dentures—making breaking down food more difficult.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Late-stage Alzheimer’s patients can often have difficulty swallowing and eating.
  • Cancer: Certain cancers and some treatments such as radiation can make it a challenge to swallow.
  • Laying down during meals: Many seniors suffer from conditions and muscle weakness, preventing them from maintaining a proper sitting position during meals. This instability presents a choking hazard because it makes it more difficult to swallow.
  • Food texture: Staff may be asked to modify meals by mincing, chopping, or pureeing food to make chewing and swallowing easier.

Failing to carefully follow strict food guidelines and dietary restrictions—whether it’s because of impatience, ignorance, or neglect—opens the door for severe choking hazards. Nursing homes must assist and supervise residents with swallowing disorders to diminish this risk. However, choking in nursing homes remains an all-too-common cause of injury and death among the elderly.

How To Reduce Choking Deaths in New York Nursing Homes

Mealtimes can become deadly when nursing homes don’t adequately supervise or monitor the food intake of their patients. Many elderly and disabled individuals have difficulty swallowing and must live on restrictive diets to prevent choking on their food. When facilities neglect to enforce diet restrictions or watch susceptible nursing home residents who have difficulty swallowing, there’s always a risk of choking and death.

Nursing home choking incidents can be limited by following a few basic steps. First, all residents should be periodically and adequately assessed for chewing and swallowing deficits. A medical professional should examine the patient and recommend an eating program for each specific patient. Options include initiating a pureed diet—consisting of foods that do not require chewing—or initiating a feeding tube. Additionally, modified diets such as thickened liquids or soft food should be delivered to residents with dietary restrictions.

Contact the New York Nursing Home Choking Lawyers at Dalli & Marino

Did your loved one have a choking event and suffer injury or death at a New York nursing facility? If so, you may have the right to seek legal action for the avoidable injury. At Dalli & Marino, our experienced attorneys approach each case on an individual basis and are committed to helping you recuperate the money you need to compensate your family.

At Dalli & Marino, we’re a group of knowledgeable lawyers who understand New York-specific regulations and government healthcare, and our verdicts and settlements have recovered millions of dollars for our clients since 1996. Contact us at (888) 465-8790 or complete our contact form today.