A former health care worker has been arraigned on the criminal charge of manslaughter for allegedly ignoring that a client in a Milton group home was choking to death. According Annie Kwankam’s attorney, his client thought that the 57-year-old Lauren Wolf, who was severely mentally disabled, was just kidding around when she grabbed her throat and fell to the ground while eating a piece of steak.
The Massachusetts choking death accident took place in a Milton group home in 2009. At the time, Kwankam was a residential counselor there.
Prosecutors contend that Kwankam failed to cut the meat into pieces small enough for Wolf to eat. 20 minutes after the Milton choking accident, Kwankam contacted 911, telling the dispatcher that sometimes she wasn’t sure when Wolf was playing around.
Unfortunately, there are many elderly and mentally ill patients that are prone to choking injuries. Some may no longer have all their teeth, experience swallowing problems, or have lost the mental awareness to know whether/not their food is ready to swallow. At Massachusetts nursing homes and in residences where private caretakers are hired, it is not uncommon for nursing staff or the professional caregiver to be responsible for properly blending or cutting up the foods so that the patient doesn’t accidentally choke. Some patients even require personal supervision and hands-on assistance while they eat. In the event of a choking accident, it is the staff’s responsibility to immediately administer help, and if necessary, call in other medical professionals.
Common causes of choking accidents at care facilities:
• Inadequate training • Not enough staff
• Poor supervision • Neglect • Inexperience
If your loved one was injured or died in a choking accident, you may want to speak with a Boston nursing home neglect law firm to explore your legal options. Your civil case would be separate from any criminal proceedings, with their outcomes unrelated. This means that regardless of whether or not a negligent nursing professional is charged or convicted in criminal court, you still may be able to successfully obtain damages.
Ex-health care worker faces manslaughter charge for choking death of patient in Milton group home, Boston.com, October 18, 2012
More Blog Posts:
Study May Have Exposed Elderly Boston Nursing Home Patients to Greater Risk of Fall Accidents, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, October 4, 2012
Boston Nursing Home Negligence?: “Hand Hygiene” is A Health Concern at Some Facilities, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, August 30, 2012
Hot Weather Can Place the Health of Boston Nursing Home Patients at Risk, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, August 21, 2012
Altman & Altman, LLP represents Massachusetts elder abuse and neglect clients and their families.