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Suffocation in New York Nursing Homes

Asphyxiation, also known as suffocation, is when the body does not get enough oxygen. When a person’s breathing is cut off, it can lead to a loss of consciousness, brain injury, and even death. Suffocation is a common cause of fatal injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that suffocation claimed 18,924 lives in 2018.

Death by suffocation is preventable, yet it continues to be a leading cause of death in nursing homes year after year. If you believe someone you care about choked or suffocated because of a negligent nursing home, the New York nursing home abuse and neglect team at Dalli & Marino may be able to help you recover compensation.

Why is Death by Choking or Suffocation So Common in New York Nursing Homes?

As we age, our bodies produce less saliva and can experience a loss of muscle strength in our throats and mouths, which can make swallowing increasingly difficult. Many elderly individuals also suffer from dental issues, including poorly fitted dentures, that can make chewing a challenge.

Conditions such as advanced Alzheimer’s and complications due to stroke can also make tasks such as eating, drinking, and even breathing strenuous for nursing home residents. Experts estimate that roughly half of all institutionalized older adults have identifiable signs and symptoms of a swallowing disorder.

Elderly or disabled nursing home residents with swallowing disorders have the highest risk of choking and asphyxiation. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed and do not have the ability to provide sufficient supervision of their residents most susceptible to choking. Underqualified staff may also be incapable of caring for residents with disabilities or illnesses that make swallowing difficult.

Common Causes of Suffocation in New York Nursing Homes

Our elderly population is at the highest risk for suffering a fatal choking injury. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 2,848 of the 5,051 people who died from choking in 2015 were over the age of 74.

Nursing home staff that fail to meet the needs of their residents can inadvertently cause an elderly or disabled resident to suffocate by failing to perform duties such as:

  • Clearing blockages from breathing tubes
  • Supervising at-risk residents during mealtimes
  • Providing residents with adequate hydration
  • Ensuring all staff are trained on the emergency protocol for choking incidents
  • Preparing foods so that they are easier to swallow
  • Detecting medication side effects
  • Monitoring respiratory diseases that could obstruct a person’s airway

Caretaker facilities are required to have enough staff with the appropriate certifications and skills to carry out the responsibilities needed to maintain the health and safety of their residents. Should a nursing home facility fail to provide an adequate level of care for someone you love, contact a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer as soon as possible to explore your options.

Make Things Right with an Experienced New York Nursing Home Suffocation Attorney

Dalli & Marino, LLP, is one of the most experienced and successful nursing home neglect and abuse law firms in New York. We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients since 1996. If you had a loved one suffocate at a nursing home in New York, contact our highly skilled nursing home suffocation attorneys to discuss how we can help you make things right.

When you have Dalli & Marino on your side, you will have a team of dedicated lawyers working tirelessly to maximize compensation for the injustices against you and your loved one. Call (888) 465-8790 or send us a completed contact form for a free discussion of your situation today. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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