The family of a 92-year-old Alzheimer’s patient recently filed a lawsuit against an Arlington Heights skilled nursing facility after the woman’s left ear required surgery as a result of becoming infested with maggots. The Lutheran Home for the Aged resident is reportedly unable to speak and the infestation was only discovered after she began tugging at her ear. Physicians at Northwest Community Hospital allegedly removed 57 maggots from the patient’s ear canal. Laboratory testing estimated the maggots were up to three days old at the time of removal.
According to the patient’s daughter, the elderly nursing home resident requires periodic ear flushing and other treatments as a result of a previous surgery. In addition, the resident’s ear was reportedly treated for wax build-up nine days before the maggot infestation was discovered. Her daughter said the woman’s doctor prescribed ear drops that were designed to be administered four times daily in order to treat the malady. According to the long-term care facility, the drops were administered on schedule and the last dose was placed in the woman’s ear the night before the maggots were discovered. Her daughter stated she now questions whether the nursing home resident’s medication was ever administered.
The elderly woman’s family filed a lawsuit against the Lutheran Home for the Aged seeking damages for negligence and emotional distress. Her daughter said although photos of the infestation were awful, listening to her mother scream while the maggots were removed was horrifying. Still, the nursing home’s administrator, Phillip Hemmer, maintains the facility’s staff did nothing wrong. According to Hemmer, a nursing assistant brought the infestation to the attention of a facility nurse who then notified the medical director at the nursing home. The medical director reportedly decided the patient should be examined by doctors at a local hospital. Hemmer said prior to this time, the maggots were too small to be seen by the naked eye.
Following the incident, the nursing home reportedly hired an insect exterminator to inspect the facility. According to facility administrators, no flies were found on the premises. Instead, the nursing home contends that a fly must have entered the 92-year-old’s ear canal and laid eggs while she was walking outside with a private caretaker. Although the Lutheran Home for the Aged claims the Illinois Department of Public Health failed to find any violations related to the woman’s case, state officials reportedly issued $1,100 in fines to the facility in November. The fines allegedly resulted from other complaints related to patient care. The woman’s family has since moved her to another long-term care facility.
The Illinois Elder Abuse and Neglect Act was created to respond to allegations of senior citizen abuse or neglect throughout our state. The Illinois Department of Public Health is tasked with investigating and responding to all reports of elder neglect or abuse that occur in a skilled nursing home or other long-term care setting. As was unfortunately the case in this instance, some nursing home residents are unable to report abuse or neglect by a caregiver. If you suspect a disabled or elderly nursing home patient is being neglected or otherwise mistreated, you should speak with a qualified nursing home abuse and neglect attorney.
If your loved one was neglected or abused in an Illinois nursing home, please call Abels & Annes, P.C. at (312) 475-9596 today. Our experienced Chicago area nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help you protect the rights of your elderly and disabled loved ones. To schedule a free consultation with a hardworking Illinois attorney, you may contact Abels & Annes, P.C. through the law firm’s website.
Note: Abels & Annes, P.C. does not represent the victim’s family in the above mentioned lawsuit.
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Grieving Chicago Family Sues Nursing Home After Unauthorized Photos of Their Dying Loved One Turn Up on the Internet, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, December 2, 2012
2 Investigators: 57 Maggots Removed From Nursing Home Patient’s Ear, by Pam Zekman, Chicago.cbslocal.com