March 18, 2016

162017_132140396847214_292624_nDuring late February 2016, the family of a Kansas nursing home resident who choked to death after being allowed to snack on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, despite being on a restricted diet (pureed foods and thickened liquids only), filed a federal lawsuit against the nursing home and others, for nursing home negligence and wrongful death, seeking damages in excess of $75,000.

The 73-year-old nursing home resident had lived in the defendant nursing home for about three years before her death on October 19, 2014. She had severe cognitive impairments and was placed on a pureed diet by the nursing home’s dietitian due to chewing and swallowing problems. She was supposed to be supervised when she ate.

On the day she died, the resident was given a peanut butter and jelly sandwich by a nursing home staff member despite the staff member allegedly knowing that the resident was not supposed to be given peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because of her pureed diet restrictions, according to the family’s nursing home negligence wrongful death lawsuit. The family further alleges that the staff member had given their relative peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as snacks in the past, despite knowing about the resident’s dietary restriction.

On the day in question, the resident was found to be coughing without making sound. She indicated that she was choking and the staff performed the Heimlich maneuver, which dislodged two pieces of food. The staff swept the resident mouth with their fingers and found no more food within her mouth. The resident was then given thickened water to sip after which she became unresponsive and turned blue. The Heimlich maneuver was attempted again but the resident had no pulse. An unqualified staff member began CPR and the resident was subsequently transported to the hospital where she was unable to be revived.

The Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services investigated the incident at the Kansas nursing home and subsequently issued a statement of deficiency and assessed a fine.


It is foreseeable that a nursing home resident who is on a pureed diet may choke if provided a peanut butter sandwich. In a nursing home neglect case investigated by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the nursing home was cited for a violation involving an incident described as follows: “Based on interviews, record review, review of incident reports, and the facility’s incident investigations Reports, the facility failed to ensure staff implement policies and procedures to prevent neglect to R9. On 3/16/2005, during the evening 8:00 p.m. snack, R9 stole a peanut butter sandwich from another individual and stuffed it in his mouth. R9 chocked on the sandwich and the Heimlich Maneuver was performed to dislodge the sandwich. On 3/17/005, staff neglected to provide R9 a pureed diet which was an identify priority need due to his episodes of choking. R9 received an mechanical soft diet which consisted of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, R9 choked on the sandwich, went into respiratory/cardiac arrest and subsequently died from the results of his injuries.”


If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in Kansas or in another U.S. state due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, or nursing home abuse, you should promptly find a local nursing home claim lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your possible nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf, if appropriate.

Click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers (nursing home claim lawyers) in your U.S. state who may be able to assist you with your nursing home claim, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959.

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