Los Angeles Nursing Home Choking Death Lawyers

Dysphagia (or trouble swallowing) is often the cause of choking in elderly populations. A large portion of the people who die from choking each year are over the age of 74. Dysphagia can cause other issues aside from choking as well, like aspiration pneumonia, which is the condition that occurs when fluid or food enters “the wrong pipe” and ends up in the lungs.

Seniors have higher rates of dysphagia for a number of reasons. One being, that as the body grows older, muscle loss and strength in the throat and mouth decreases, making it difficult to swallow food (especially dry or hard foods). Another reason is due to the prevalence of Dementia and Alzheimer’s in senior communities; these conditions have a direct impact on swallowing. The larger portion of those suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s have difficulty eating or swallowing, with a large portion of this community directly suffering from dysphagia. Several other reasons that an elderly person may choke include, strokes (or other brain injuries), multiple sclerosis, esophageal cancer, Parkinson’s, or even improperly fitted dentures.

Regardless of the choking risk, Los Angeles nursing homes that care to elderly and senior citizens in the area should be well versed on how to reduce risk and respond properly when choking is occurring. When a home is not well prepared or does not execute the correct method to assist a patient when choking, a choking death can occur, at which point a Los Angeles nursing home wrongful death attorney can help assist the family in taking legal action.

Nursing homes throughout the nation have a legal duty to provide a safe environment for their residents. That duty is upheld through many markers, but a key one is having their staff properly trained in how to respond to choking emergencies. As a preventative measure, Los Angeles nursing facilities must also ensure that residents are properly monitored as they eat and drink.

Most nurses and other trained caregivers are well versed and aware of the warning signs of dysphagia and choking. These signs include:

  • Coughing or gagging while eating
  • Frequent choking during meals
  • Constant clearing of the throat
  • Drooling
  • Rushed eating
  • Regurgitation
  • Holding food in the mouth
  • Taking longer to eat
  • Hoarseness/change in vocal patterns
  • Grimace or painful expressions when eating
  • Frequent heartburn

Once a resident is choking, there must be an emergency plan in place in that staff can follow to ensure that the patients airway is cleared as soon as possible. If there is a failure to clear the airway, there are many grave consequences. The most obvious of these consequences is a choking death, yet there are other issues that can be caused even if the resident survives. If there is a lack of oxygen to the brain for 3-4 minutes, it will most likely result in irreversible brain damage (death is not far behind that). Even earlier than that, a resident can still experience consequences like aspiration pneumonia. When a new resident arrives at a Los Angeles nursing home, a physician should establish strict food guidelines and dietary restrictions to guard against choking hazards it is aware of, or should be aware of, as well as choking deaths. These guidelines should be followed in order for the resident to receive proper care, and failure to do so could be considered by lawyers as negligence on behalf of the home. Failure to follow these guidelines (whether due to impatience, neglect, or ignorance) can and may likely cause a serious choking hazard.

Call or Contact Southern California Nursing Home Law Group Today

Have you suspected that a loved one has been the victim of a nursing home choking death in the Los Angeles area? If so, call the office or contact us today at the Southern California Nursing Home Law Group to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced Los Angeles nursing home choking death attorneys now.

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