Choking is one of the leading causes of death in nursing homes. Has your loved one been injured or died due to choking in a long-term care facility? You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other damages. You need a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer to help you get the money your family needs.
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers has three decades of experience in personal injury law and has recovered tens of millions for injured families. Let us help you after your loved one suffers a choking incident in a Fort Lauderdale, FL nursing home.
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How Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers Can Help With a Claim Against a Nursing Home
Don’t go it alone after your loved one experiences negligence in their long-term care facility. You need a skilled Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney to investigate your loved one’s injury and gather evidence to prove the nursing home was responsible.
When you hire Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers, we will:
- Conduct an independent investigation into your loved one’s choking incident
- Examine past reports of negligence within the nursing home
- Calculate the full value of your loved one’s damages
- Explore all avenues for compensation
- File all insurance claims or lawsuits to protect your loved one’s rights.
Our lawyers had 30 years of experience helping victims obtain justice and compensation after an injury. Contact us today in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to schedule a free consultation with a Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse lawyer.
What is Choking?
Choking is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Fatal choking events have increased steadily over the last decade. Nearly 5,000 people a year now die from choking in the U.S. every year. A recent study showed that over half of choking deaths occur in people over the age of 74. Specifically, many elderly people live alone or in assisted living facilities, where they may not receive the level of supervision they need to keep them from choking.
Choking occurs when an object obstructs a person’s airway – either by getting stuck in the trachea or esophagus. The trachea carries air to your lungs, where oxygen enters your bloodstream and is carried to the rest of your body. In children, choking is often a toy or other small object. In older adults, food is usually the cause of choking.
Choking that completely blocks the airway can quickly result in death or severe brain damage, since it cuts off oxygen to the brain.
Choking is sometimes used interchangeably with strangulation, but it’s not the same. Both cut off a person’s air, but strangulation happens when something external (such as another person’s hands or a ligature) prohibits the flow of oxygen to the brain.
What Causes Choking in Florida Nursing Home Patients?
Some conditions, particularly among the elderly, can increase the risk of choking, such as:
- ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, or Muscular Dystrophy
- Dry mouth, a side effect of some medications
- Dysphagia due to stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Difficulty eating with dentures
Nursing home residents can face additional risks if they are not receiving proper care. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect is common in residential living facilities. In fact, a startling two out of three staff members admitted that they had abused residents within the past year.
Choking risk can increase due to:
- Negligent supervision of nursing home residents
- Negligent hiring of unqualified staff
- Failure to recognize signs of choking
- Failure to train staff in the Heimlich maneuver
- Failure to recognize resident’s need for a special diet
- Overworked and fatigued staff
- Failure to recognize symptoms of dysphagia, which can increase choking risk
Responding to a choking victim is often a matter of life and death. Cerebral hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) kills brain cells within minutes and can cause complete brain death within 10 minutes.
What Are the Signs of Choking?
It’s often almost a reflex to put your hands to your neck if you get something caught in your throat or if something “goes down the wrong pipe.”
While that’s a sure sign someone is having trouble, other signs of choking are:
- Inability to cough
- Becoming flushed or red in the face
- Unable to speak or make any noise
If the airway is completely blocked, the person will not be able to cough or make any sounds. A partial airway obstruction may still allow a person to cough or gasp.
What Injuries Are Caused by Choking?
Choking in a nursing home can result in:
This most obvious result of choking occurs quickly if a person does not receive oxygen to their brain. If the object or material is not removed from a choking person’s airway, they can die from asphyxiation.
Aspiration pneumonia can occur when food or liquid enters the lungs instead of the stomach. Nursing home residents may already have trouble resisting bacterial infections. When trouble swallowing causes food to become lodged in the throat, it can lead to other life-threatening conditions in addition to cutting oxygen supply.
Just a few minutes of depriving oxygen to the brain can cause severe, irreversible brain damage. Brain cells begin to die within less than five minutes. This can cause an acquired traumatic brain injury, leading to lifelong limitations and severe disabilities.
Other Bodily Injuries
Irritation and damage to the trachea and esophagus can be caused by the obstruction that was lodged in the throat. Broken ribs or damage to the heart muscle can also occur when performing procedures to help a choking victim.
What Compensation Is Available for Choking Injuries in Fort Lauderdale?
If a loved one has suffered from choking due to negligence, it is possible that they could be entitled to compensation. If you have lost a family member because of nursing home negligence or abuse, then you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Possible compensation for choking injuries could include:
- Payment for emergency services
- Payment for ongoing medical care for complications caused by choking
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Transfer to another nursing home or care facility
- Compensation for wrongful death of a loved one
It is always best to consult a qualified nursing home abuse lawyer if you suspect that a loved one in a residential care facility has been harmed by improper care.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL for Help
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers wants to help you and your loved one after a choking incident in a nursing home. Our Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse attorneys will stand up for your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your claim.