Washington Nursing Home Sued For Resident’s Elopement, Subsequent Death

On August 30, 2017, the estate of an 83-year-old man who was a resident of a Bremerton, Washington nursing home at the time he eloped from the facility during the early morning of October 10, 2016, after which he was found lying in a parking lot and died later that day, has filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against the nursing home. The Washington nursing home lawsuit alleges that the defendant nursing home’s negligence resulted in the man being unsupervised at the time he left the building, and that its subsequent negligent care when he returned back to the nursing home after being seen in the hospital led to his death.

The Washington nursing home negligence lawsuit alleges that the man, who became a resident of the defendant nursing home in 2011, suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, had cognitive impairments, and experienced delusions and hallucinations. He reportedly often sat in the lobby of the nursing home, looking out the front door, and had expressed a desire to leave the building. Despite his deficits, impairments, and behavior, he was not determined to be an elopement risk by the defendant nursing home staff and he was allowed to roam within the nursing home building without supervision.

Sometime around midnight on October 10, 2016, the man was observed by a nursing home nurse to be in the vicinity of the front door to the building. She subsequently noticed that he was no longer in view, but the nurse assumed that he had returned to his room; she failed to check the man’s room to make sure he was there. At approximately 2:25 a.m., the man was found outside by a pharmacy worker – the man was lying in the parking lot, with his head against a curb. He was then transported to the hospital.

The man told the hospital staff that he left the nursing home building after which he became very cold (it was in the 40s at the time the man was found lying in the parking lot) and he laid down. He allegedly also told the hospital staff that he had “occasionally wandered off like this” in the past. The hospital discharged the man back to the defendant nursing home at about 6:00 a.m., in stable condition. Upon arrival at the defendant nursing home, the man was found to be suffering from low oxygen level in his blood and an oxygen mask was placed over his mouth and nose.

The nursing home staff reportedly failed to provide an adequate flow of oxygen, which led to the build up of carbon dioxide in the man’s bloodstream. The nursing home staff reportedly noticed that the man was breathing rapidly and heard abnormal noises emanating from his lungs. Nonetheless, the nursing home staff continued administering intravenous fluids to the man that resulted in fluid build up in his lungs, causing the man to have difficulty breathing. By 2:00 p.m., the man was dead.

The estate’s nursing home negligence lawsuit alleges that the defendant nursing home’s staff failed to recognize and properly treat the man’s medical conditions, which led to his death.

A state investigation into the man’s death reportedly found that the front door to the nursing home building did not have an alarm that would warn when the door was opened; the front door was not monitored by cameras; and, the door could be easily opened from the inside (the door could be locked to prevent entry from the outside). Although the building had an outside doorbell, it was white in color and was installed against a white background. Investigators reportedly were told by other residents that they were unaware the building had a doorbell by the front door.

CMS reportedly fined the defendant nursing home $552,000 in December 2016 following the investigation, but the fine was later reduced to $363,000.


If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in Washington or in another U.S. state due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, nursing home understaffing, or resident on resident abuse, you should promptly contact a Washington nursing home claim attorney, or a nursing home claim attorney in your state, who may investigate your 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 nursing home claim lawyers in your U.S. state who may assist you with your nursing home case, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, September 16th, 2017 at 5:17 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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