An Upstate New York Nursing Facility is being sued by the son of a 63 year-old patient, who died after choking on a grilled cheese sandwich. Maureen A. Bali, a resident at Huntington Living Center from May through December 2015, suffered from dementia. As part of Bali’s resident plan of care, she was fitted for and wore dentures to eat. She required her dentures to be able to bite and chew solid food. Federal regulation 483.35(g) – Dietary Services/Assistive devices, states “the facility must provide special eating equipment and utensils for residents who need them.” On December 19, 2015, according to the lawsuit, Huntington staff “negligently, carelessly and recklessly” fed Bali a grilled cheese sandwich without wearing her dentures. Subsequently, she choked on the sandwich resulting in respiratory distress related to aspiration. Ms. Bali died on December 22, 2015 due to complications associated with choking and aspiration of food. According to a recent advertisement for the facility, The Center, self-proclaimed, “Secure Dementia Care Specialists” has a special needs unit “committed to providing expert and compassionate care in a warm, safe comfortable environment.”
Lawson L. Bali, Maureen Bali’s son, is suing Huntington Living Center for neglect and wrongful death. The lawsuit filed on July 28, 2016 in New York State Supreme Court, claims that his mother “received negligent medical care and improper treatment from Huntington, resulting in her wrongful death.” He also claims that his mother “experienced conscious pain and suffering from December 19-22, 2015 and was deprived of her rights/and or benefits created or established for her well being, in violation of nursing home laws, rules and regulations, as well as New York Public Health Law 2801-d.”
Huntington Living Center is a 160-bed skilled nursing facility located at 369 E. Main Street, Waterloo, NY. Operated by Huntington Nursing Home, Inc., it is a Voluntary – Not for Profit Corporation and participates in both Medicaid and Medicare. Citations from both Certification and Complaint Surveys from June 1, 2012 through May 31, 2016 were noted to be above the state average. The facility received 38 Standard Health Citations as compared to a statewide average of 23 and 33 Life Safety Code citations compared to the statewide average of 12. Total citations received by Huntington Living Center during the reporting period were 71 compared to a statewide average of 36. The Center also received 10 complaints-related deficiencies during the same reporting period. 6 of these complaints-related deficiencies were in the “Quality of Care” category. Federal regulations 483.25 – Quality of Care maintains that “each resident must receive and the facility must provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well being, in accordance with the comprehensive assessment and plan of care.” Deficiencies per 100 occupied beds for this facility is 3.3, slightly above the statewide average of 2.6.
If you or a loved one has suffered neglect, abuse, or mistreatment at a nursing home, please do not hesitate to contact the passionate and experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC today.