Langton Place, a nursing home in Roseville, Minnesota, has been fined by the Minnesota Department of Health after the death of a resident whose head became trapped between the mattress and the bed’s grab bar. The resident suffocated and died on May 31, 2017.

According to MDH, Langton Place “had no policy, procedure or system to ensure the proper sizing of mattresses, the fit of the grab bars space between the mattresses and the grab bar device to reduce the risk of entrapment.”

MDH recommended a fine and the creation of a plan designed to prevent suffocation deaths caused by improperly fitting mattresses. Presbyterian Homes, the organization that operates Langton Place, told the Star Tribune that it is appealing the state’s findings regarding the resident’s death because “the allowable gap between the woman’s mattress and her grab bar ‘were well within [federal] guidelines’ of 4½ inches” (Star Tribune, 16 Jan. 2018).

Can a Family Sue a Nursing Home for a Suffocation Death?

Nursing Home Malpractice Information

A family can sue a nursing home for the suffocation death of their loved one if there is evidence that the nursing home was negligent, meaning carelessness of the administration or staff was involved. In cases like this one, an independent investigation would need to be done that would involve recording witness testimony and looking at organization documents. In addition federal and state laws, including nursing home regulations, would need to be analyzed.

“Lawsuits against nursing homes can lead to relevant change in how these institutions are operated.”Attorney Fred Pritzker

Residents of nursing homes are some of our most vulnerable adults. It is imperative that every measure is taken to keep them safe. The risk of suffocation due to an inappropriately sized mattress is well known, and this case highlights the need for administrators of these facilities to make sure mattresses are large enough to prevent these kinds of fatalities.

Nursing Home Bed
The mattress on a nursing home bed should be large enough to prevent a residents’s head from getting stuck between the mattress and the grab bar.

Attorney Fred Pritzker is a personal injury lawyer and product safety advocate. He has spoken at Harvard Law School, Cornell and other institutions promoting efforts to protect consumers from unsafe products and dangerous product usage. Fred is the founder of our law firm and has assembled an experienced team of litigators.

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Nursing Home Personal Injury and Wrongful Death News