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Nursing home neglect case: patient left in excessive heat, dies

As Miami residents know, the weather in southern Florida is usually beautiful. Sometimes though, the elements can be more than annoying. They can be downright dangerous. Extreme heat, severe storms and chilly nights can all pose threats, especially to our elderly residents. Since the elderly are more sensitive to the weather it is important that those who cannot care for themselves are watched after. When these vulnerable individuals are not properly taken care of, a tragedy, like the one in a nursing home neglect case that happened in another state earlier this year, can occur.

A wheelchair-bound nursing home resident was left outside in the 102-degree heat for more than an hour. The man was placed on life support but later died as a result of the excessive heat. The nursing home was fined a mere $500 for the violation, but the victim's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

Aging exposes individuals to vulnerabilities that younger, healthier individuals may not face. An elderly person, because of a declining immune system, may be more susceptible to illness or may be at a higher risk of bedsores. For this reason, nursing home personnel are expected to provide their patients with proper supervision.

Those who have been injured as a result of negligent nursing home supervision can bring legal action against those responsible to recover damages. Damage awards can help victims recover any additional medical costs and any pain and suffering that have accrued as a result of the negligence. In the tragic case of death, a victim's family can also recover funeral costs.

The elderly are the most vulnerable amongst us and deserve to be protected. Anyone who promises to take care of them and then fails must take responsibility.

Source: kvoa.com, "Tucson nursing home pays fine in heat death of patient," Faye DeHoff, Sept. 5, 2012

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