Family of Woman Who Froze To Death Outside Nursing Home Urges Continual Monitoring of Facilities

The daughters of a woman who froze to death outside a nursing home while a nurse's aide watched television have filed a negligence lawsuit against the the nursing home, but they say their experience forms an important lesson for others.

"You really have to go online and research as an ongoing basis to see what's going on. And people should know that," one of the daughters said.  Her 89-year-old mother, who suffered from dementia, was allowed to wander away from the facility undetected while an aide watched several television shows. The facility has the lowest possible rating by the federal government.

"This just can't be allowed to happen to anybody. Nobody should be allowed to die like that," said one of the woman's daughters.

The three daughters are still reeling from their mother's horrible death. The 89-year-old had been living at the nursing home for more than two years. She suffered from dementia and they thought she was getting good care.But then she was found frozen to death outside the facility's courtyard.

"She was almost naked," her daughter said. "My mother was a proud, private woman who would be mortified that this was her demise."

What's more, family members say Wentworth couldn't get out of bed without help, and went through two doors and past a nurse's station to get outside.

Under a new evaluation system, federal watchdogs gave his nursing home a one-star rating out of a possible five. Translation: conditions much below average.

And the last annual inspection by the state uncovered 22 violations, ranging from failing to keep the facility free of dangers that cause accidents to failing to give treatment to prevent bed sores.

"We checked out the home and the rating on it when we put her in. it didn't have all those violations," a daughter said. For more, read the story.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.