A California nursing home negligence lawsuit filed in mid-April 2018 by the father of a 55-year-old mentally impaired resident who is partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair alleges that the resident was allowed to smoke in an unsafe manner which led to him being found engulfed in flames while in the designated smoking area of the defendant nursing home.
The man had been a resident of the nursing home since 2009, after having lived in an assisted living facility after he was severely injured in 2004 as a result of being struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle. The man was treated in the brain injury unit of a hospital for more than a month following the incident, which caused him to suffer a permanent brain injury and left him paralyzed on his left side.
As a long-term cigarette smoker, the resident was permitted to smoke one cigarette per hour in the designated smoking area located on the patio of the nursing home. The nursing home allegedly did not permit the resident to have matches or a lighter, or to light his own cigarettes, in order to provide for the safety of the resident and others at the nursing home.
Despite the nursing home’s safety protocols regarding smoking at the facility, on November 6, 2017, the resident was given a lighter by a nursing home staff member and the resident was allowed to light his own cigarette and smoke unsupervised in the designated smoking area. The resident was not wearing a fire-retardant gown while smoking.
The resident somehow became engulfed in flames that started on his left side. The nursing home staff only became aware that the resident’s clothing was on fire when the resident screamed and the staff responded to the smoking area. The staff pulled off the resident’s clothing and used a sheet to extinguish the flames.
The resident spent almost a month in a hospital burn unit due to the third-degree burns he suffered on his back and his left side. He required three skin graft procedures to treat his burnt flesh. The California nursing home lawsuit alleges dependent abuse and neglect, nursing home negligence, and violations of his rights. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for the man’s injuries including his continuing excruciating pain and the mental anguish he continues to suffer as a result of his injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in California or in another U.S. state due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, nursing home under-staffing, or the nursing home over-medicating residents, you should promptly find a nursing home claim attorney in California or in your state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf or behalf of your loved one, if appropriate.
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