Nursing Home Resident Dies After Burn Accident that Staff Should Have Prevented

One nursing home is being sued by the family of a resident who was burned while smoking. A state investigation found that staff at the home did not remove the resident's oxygen tube and tank before allowing him to smoke outside. The 55 year-old man died five days after the incident at the nursing home.

The man was in hospice care at the home early last year with end-stage lung cancer and had difficulty with memory loss and forgetfulness, according to a state investigation report. His care plan at the nursing home said that he was to be assisted with smoking because he was weak and had more potential for injury because of his use of oxygen. The plan directed staff to remove his oxygen tank from his wheelchair before allowing him to smoke.

The state investigation found that both the staff member and the nursing home were at fault, saying the home did not have an adequate smoking policy in place and failed to train all staff on oxygen and smoking safety. According to to state records, the facility has implemented a new policy that will increase staff training, improve safety warnings and keep residents on oxygen from smoking. For more, read the story.

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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.