When negligent actions by nursing home staff members contribute to COVID-19 infections for residents, a negligence lawsuit can provide compensation for illness or death.
COVID-19 in Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents face a high risk for illness and death from coronavirus due to age, existing health conditions, and immune deficiencies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lethality of the disease seems to double for every ten years of age over age 50. Many nursing home residents are in their 70s, 80s, even 90s, so their chance of survival after contracting the virus is very small.
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the country have been hard-hit by COVID-19. In Illinois, nursing homes currently account for 44 percent of coronavirus-related deaths. In late April, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) posted new data that shows 1,082 COVID-19 coronavirus deaths are tied to long-term-care facilities and assisted living establishments. This number is 73 percent higher than the 625 deaths reported a week earlier and nearly four times higher than the 286 deaths reported on April 17. To date, Woodbridge Nursing Pavilion, a 222-bed facility in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state with 151 confirmed cases and 19 deaths.
Although the spread of COVID-19 may be next to impossible to prevent even under ideal conditions, many nursing home conditions are far from ideal. Health department data shows that more than 60 percent of nursing homes receive citations for improper hygiene practices during normal regulatory inspections. In a pandemic like COVID-19 where cleanliness is crucial to prevent the spread of the virus, poor hygiene practices can quickly lead to illness and death for nursing home residents.
Two million people live in U.S. nursing homes and long-term care facilities. In the early stages of the pandemic, many relatives of elderly residents voiced concerns about unsanitary conditions, lack of PPE equipment, low staff levels, and lack of attention to resident needs. As illnesses and deaths rise, it’s likely that many nursing home facilities will face negligence and wrongful death lawsuits filed by nursing home abuse lawyers.
In April, the first COVID-19 wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington by the daughter of an 84-year-old woman who died from coronavirus. The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of Kirkland Life Care Center as the cause of the woman’s death.