Nursing Home Patient Dies After Catching Fire

A Chicago nursing home patient died this week after catching fire outside of the home and being left to smolder without medical attention. The incident was partially caught on security cameras and has many outraged as it appears that the employees of the nursing home failed to take appropriate action to help the man or to save his life.

The man was a resident of a nursing home on the north side of Chicago when earlier this week, he sat outside of his nursing home and in his wheelchair as he smoked a cigarette. The man was in a designated smoking area at the time and security video shows that a lighter in his pocket caught his clothing on fire, prompting the man and other home residents to try to put out the fire. When they were unable to extinguish the man’s clothing, he wheeled himself inside the home and sought help from employees. Staff at the nursing home sprayed the victim directly with a fire extinguisher and then wheeled him outside again to the same area where the fire started, failing to check the man’s pulse or airway and failing to leave a staff member with him.

The video does not show any additional help being rendered to the man, who sustained burns from his eyebrows to his thighs, until approximately five minutes after the fire started. At that time an employee emerged and provided the resident with oxygen until paramedics arrived approximately five minutes later. It was not until paramedics arrived that CPR was performed, nearly 10 minutes after the fire began. But by that time it was too late.

The victim died as a result of the fire, leaving behind grieving family members who wonder why more wasn’t done to help their loved one.

When a family member is placed in a nursing home, the belief is that the family member will receive top notch care and attention from the staff, providing needed resources to a vulnerable member of society. Yet too often, residents of nursing homes become victims of abuse and neglect that results in injuries or even death to the patient. When this happens, the nursing home and its employees may be legally responsible for their actions.

A personal injury attorney can help you understand whether your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse and whether your family has a valid claim for your damages. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are Illinois nursing home injury lawyers who are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) 529-2442. We will provide you with a free, no obligation telephone consultation regarding your loved one’s case and we will help you understand your legal options. Call us today and let us help your family obtain a financial recovery you deserve.

Prior Blog Entries:

Nursing Home Employee Pleads Guilty to Negligence Charge in Scalding Case, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published October 1, 2013.

Former Employee Pleads Guilty to Abusing Nursing Home Patient, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published September 19, 2013.


2 Investigators: Nursing Home Patient Catches Fire, Left to Smolder Outside, CBS Chicago, published September 30, 2013.

Michael Lewis Dies In Nursing Home After Catching Fire, by Sebastian Murdock, The Huffington Post, published October 1, 2013.


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