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Family Alleges Chicagoland Nursing Home Failed to Resuscitate Loved One

A Highland Park family is suing the nursing home responsible for caring for their mother after staff members failed to make any attempts to revive her after viewing her lifeless body. The incident seems to be the result of staff members wrongly reading her chart, which indicated that she did wish to be resuscitated in such a situation. Her family is filing a lawsuit because multiple staff members refused to respond or even to seek emergency medical attention for the woman, who died at the age of 52 years. Despite video evidence showing the negligent care, the nursing home asserts that it provides quality care and did nothing wrong.

Routine Care Turns Deadly

Kim Cencula was admitted to the Warren Barr Nursing Home to recover after fighting pneumonia and suffered from diabetes and renal failure. The complications linked to her diabetes were why she and her family elected to admit her into the care of the nursing center while she recovered. Now, her family members regret the decision and believe that she would still be alive if she had stayed at home or been admitted to a different facility.

Patients indicate whether or not they wish to be resuscitated by checking a box on their admission paperwork and nurses and other attending staff can easily access this paperwork on the patients’ charts. However, multiple staff members either misread Cencula’s chart or ignored her wishes entirely after she was found in respiratory arrest at 4 AM on March 29, 2016.

Video Evidence Shows Clear Signs of Negligence and Disregard

Kim’s family and authorities received and reviewed video footage from her room at the time that she died that shows three different staff members entering the room after Cencula’s vitals took a turn for the worse. All three people came into the room and exited without taking any action to save Kim’s life or to alert other staff members to the emergency. The Cencula family notes in the lawsuit that no one performed CPR, no code blue was called and nobody called 911.

It wasn’t until over 30 minutes later that someone finally called 911, but by then it was too late. The Illinois Department of Public Health was called in to investigate and has since declared that all patients not wishing to be revived must be wearing a pink bracelet to make their wishes clearer to caregivers.

Nursing Center Denies Wrongdoing

Despite video evidence showing three different staff members nonchalantly walking out of the room without providing any assistance to a dying patient, Warren Barr North Shore has released a statement claiming Kim died because she suffered from a chronic and fatal disease and the nursing staff was not at all negligent in their handling of her care. The nursing facility also defended the competence of its staff, claiming staff members are highly trained and deliver care of the utmost quality.

While there is a rise in the number of nursing home abuse and neglect cases being reported over recent years, laws that are in place to defend healthcare providers from frivolous lawsuits often prevent those with legitimate claims from receiving the compensation they deserve. It is the hope of the Cencula family that their lawsuit will help with nursing care reform by sending a message that this type of treatment will not be tolerated and the video evidence has provided them with a solid case.

This is one reason many families may wish to implement the use of video surveillance when placing their loved ones under nursing care. If something should happen, the evidence the camera provides can make the difference between a successful recovery and a failed claim.


Copyright © 2017, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers

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About this Author

Jonathan Rosenfeld, Personal Injury Lawyer, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers
Attorney

I’m an Illinois lawyer with a nationwide practice who represents members of our society who have been seriously injured or killed due to the irresponsible acts of an individual or company. The injured have the same rights as everyone else — to be treated with compassion and respect— but their vulnerability means they need special protection and representation against those who injure, neglect or abuse them. This is my life’s work.

I recognize that an injured person has one opportunity to get the compensation that the law allows. I am fully dedicated and mindful of this...

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