An outbreak of a respiratory illness that led to pneumonia occurred in a Connecticut nursing home and claimed four lives before it was controlled. Now that nursing home has been fined $2,000 in connection with the handling of the outbreak after the Connecticut Department of Public Health determined errors occurred.
The Durham nursing home had 10 percent of its residents contract pneumonia by April 15 but did not report the condition as an outbreak until nine days later on April 24. The disease continued to spread until 20 percent of the residents and three staff members were ill by April 30. Of the residents who became ill, four eventually died in late April at the nursing home or at area hospitals. Reports indicate that all four had underlying problems at the time of their deaths but that their deaths were due to pneumonia.
The nursing home reportedly addressed the outbreak internally on April 24. At that time, employees were instructed to perform extra cleanings in the common areas and they were given instructions on how to limit the spread of the disease. Though the training was provided, the Department of Public Health has alleged that appropriate measures were not practiced and therefore the pneumonia continued to risk the health of residents. According to the citation, the employees did not quarantine those who were already sick and that staff did not wear masks while caring for the ill.
The elderly, together with young children and those with underlying health conditions, are at the greatest risk for contracting pneumonia and also the greatest risk of dying from the disease. This is one of the reasons that the pneumoccocal polysaccharide vaccine is recommended for all Americans over age 65. Though there is a vaccine for pneumonia, it is important to remember that the vaccine is only effective against 23 strains of bacterial pneumonia and that it is effective for only 60-80 percent of adults who receive it. This means that even if an elderly nursing home patient receives the vaccination, there is still a great need to exercise caution around anyone sick with pneumonia. In this case, the employees reportedly failed to take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of the disease and as a result more vulnerable residents became ill. Four of them were too ill to recover.
This incident is similar to those that can happen in Illinois. Whether it is pneumonia or another disease, residents of nursing homes can become ill if the employees do not take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of the illness. Not only is this a violation of most state laws, it can also be a civil wrong against a nursing home patient. If a resident is injured by negligence while in the care of a nursing home and its employees, the resident or the resident’s family may have a claim for damages against the home. This can include any hospital bills incurred in treatment or even damages sustained if a loved one dies from the failure to take appropriate steps.
If your loved one has been injured while in a nursing home, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault. This is one reason to contact a personal injury attorney who can discuss your rights and whether there may be a case. If you suspect a loved one has been harmed in a nursing home, call the Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free consultation without obligation. We are standing by 24 hours a day to take your call at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) 529-2442 so please call us now. Let us help you get a recovery your loved one deserves.
Prior Blog Entries:
Transmitter Bracelets May Help Illinois Police Find Missing Nursing Home Residents in the Future, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published June 13, 2013.
Former Nursing Home Director Arrested for Falsifying Documents regarding Missing Resident, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published June 10, 2013.
Nursing Home Fined After Four Die From Pneumonia, Following Virus Outbreak, by Kate Farrish, The Hartford Courant, published June 14, 2013.
Pneumonia Fact Sheet, American Lung Association.