Negligence Lawsuit Settlement Reached—Home Sued After Wandering Veteran Froze to Death

In a recent wrongful death and negligence lawsuit settlement, the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs has agreed to pay the family of a retired Philadelphia police officer and Korean war veteran $250,000, after the elderly man wandered unsupervised from the state veterans nursing home and froze to death.

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, that our Baltimore nursing home negligence attorneys have been following, Chapman was 75-years-old, and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. On December 31, 2007, Chapman reportedly wandered away from the home wearing his pajamas, to the outside cold that fell below freezing that night. The surveillance camera recorded Chapman’s exit, where he walked right by the security staff, and was unnoticed by the staff.

Chapman’s daughter alleged in the lawsuit that the workers were negligent in their duties and distracted because of the home’s plans for a New Year’s party. Chapman’s wandering was reportedly not noticed for two hours, even though it was their duty to monitor him. Chapman’s body was found the next morning, and according to his widow, it was only a few hundred yards from them home. The cause of death was ruled as hypothermia by the autopsy.

In an inspection report that came from the state Health Department, the home was cited for failing to take timely action, that resulted in harm and death to the veterans home resident. After the incident, records reportedly show that several of the veterans home staff were suspended or received reprimand. According to agency officials, procedures have been put into place to prevent a recurrence of this type of tragedy. The settlement agreement will reportedly be given to Chapman’s daughters, and to the family’s estate.

In a related nursing home wandering blog from earlier this year, our Baltimore nursing home injury lawyers discussed the importance of supervising residents who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, to prevent nursing home resident wandering and falls that can lead to patient injury or wrongful death.

Lebowitz and Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers represent victims of nursing home negligence and abuse. Call our attorneys today for a free consultation at 1-800-654-1949 for a free consultation.

Family, State Settle Suit in ’07 Case of Veteran Who Froze to Death, Philadelphia Daily News, November 29, 2010

Related Web Resources:

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

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