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Pneumonia, Aspiration and Wrongful Death in NY Nursing Homes

Pneumonia is a life-threatening illness for elderly people in nursing homes, and unfortunately, it can actually be caused by negligence. Aspiration pneumonia is one of the leading causes of nursing home death across the country and here in New York.

What is Aspiration Pneumonia in Nursing Home Residents?

Aspiration pneumonia is an infection that develops after inhaling food, liquid or even vomit. Most of us are able to cough and get rid of whatever has gotten into our lungs, but the elderly have a more difficult time with that. They’re at the highest risk of developing pneumonia, and they’re at the highest risk of dying from it as well.

People who are fed through tubes, who have weakened throat muscles or who have a weakened immune system are most likely to suffer from pneumonia in a nursing home. (As a side note, tube feeding should be a last resort. If you suspect that nursing home staff is unnecessarily tube feeding your loved one, contact an attorney immediately.)

Any case of pneumonia needs to be diagnosed and treated immediately; that’s just common sense. All too often, though, nursing home staffers ignore the signs and symptoms, putting your loved one’s life at risk.

How to Recognize Pneumonia in Your Loved One

Your loved one may exhibit several symptoms that warrant a check by the doctor. If you notice any of these pneumonia symptoms, get help right away:

  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Wheezing or loud breathing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarse voice
  • Gurgling sounds while breathing
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Coughing

What to Do if Your Loved One Has Pneumonia in a Nursing Home

Please know that pneumonia is a life-threatening illness in the elderly. Your loved one needs to be evaluated by a medical professional immediately. If treatment is delayed, or worse, never provided, you may be able to file a nursing home neglect lawsuit. In cases like these, families are often eligible to file abuse or wrongful death lawsuits, as well. However, it’s important that you recognize the symptoms of your loved one’s pneumonia while he or she is in the nursing home; that way, you can prevent further illness and help improve his or her quality of life.

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/elder-abuse-and-neglect.htm