Often when a resident of a nursing home in Pennsylvania dies before his or her time, it is due to the action or inaction of those employed at the facility. The direct action or inaction of facility caregivers is not the only way in which a resident may encounter an untimely death that is due to negligence, however. Other residents could inflict harm upon those at the facility.
An 85-year-old woman was recently killed, allegedly at the hands of another resident living at the same place. The man who has been charged in her death is a 53-year-old man with dementia. The two were reportedly in the middle of a verbal dispute when the man pushed the much older woman. When she fell, she hit her head, which ultimately lead to her death. The deceased also had dementia.
The man is currently being held in jail. In situations where someone is injured or dies as a result of the actions of another person, in addition to criminal charges it is possible that they could face consequences in civil courts as well. Wrongful death lawsuits can result in financial damages to the loved ones of the individual who died.
A civil lawsuit in a situation such as this one would likely involve the facility responsible for ensuring the safety of its residents as it could be argued employees were neglecting the residents. This is particularly true since the man who allegedly committed the action that led to her death is suffering from dementia and accordingly is likely not able to control many of his behaviors. Whether such a lawsuit will be filed in this case remains to be seen.
Source: Star Gazette, “Pa. dementia patient accused in nursing home death,” Associated Press, June 6, 2013