Food Allergy Wrongful Deaths in Nursing Homes
I’m Ed Smith, a Lodi wrongful death lawyer. Food allergies can cause mild symptoms to serious ones such as an anaphylactic reaction, resulting in death. Food vendors and facilities have a responsibility to be cognizant of allergic reactions when serving food. This is particularly true when the facility cares for older members of the community.
What Is a Food Allergy?
A food allergy is an immune response to something that is ingested. When this happens, the immune system mounts a response against the offending substance, resulting in allergic symptoms. The symptoms can range from mild itchiness to hives or anaphylaxis. In the latter instance, the person may experience coughing, itching, particularly of the face and mouth, wheezing and a sensation of throat and chest tightness. The individual may find it difficult to swallow or breathe.
What Treats an Anaphylactic Reaction?
Epinephrine is the treatment of choice for anaphylaxis. It can be administered by using a pre-filled syringe, available with a prescription, or medical personnel can inject it. Once the patient receives the epinephrine, symptoms usually resolve quickly. On some occasions, a second injection is required. If not treated appropriately and quickly, death could ensue.
Avoidance Is the Best Prevention
Avoiding the foods that cause an allergic response in an individual is the best way not to have a severe allergic reaction. Certain foods are well known to cause an allergic response. The most prominent foods that cause anaphylaxis due to an allergy are peanuts, fish, particularly shellfish and nuts. However, in some people, other foods can induce a severe reaction. The extent of the reaction varies from one person to another. By the time an individual has reached a certain age, they are well-aware of the foods that trigger the response.
What Happens When the Person May Lack the Ability to be Vigilant?
This happens often in nursing home facilities. Some residents are no longer able to care for themselves, or take the precautions they might have taken at a younger age. In addition, if a person is hypersensitive to a particular substance, they may have a reaction if it used as an ingredient in a meal.
Nursing Home Responsibilities
As part of their intake, a nursing home must ask for and maintain a list of all offending allergens. It becomes their responsibility to make sure that residents do not succumb to an anaphylactic reaction. Since over 200,000 people are treated in emergency rooms annually for this condition, it is a risk to the resident’s life and welfare.
Negligence in a Nursing Home
Nursing facilities are obligated to serve safe food to the people in their care. For instance, taking steps to prevent food poisoning is substandard care. Likewise, If the nursing home does not do its duty of keeping allergic foods away from residents and a person dies due to it, the nursing home is negligent. Since the individual can no longer file a claim against the nursing home, it is up to the surviving family to do so. This is called a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death claim seeks financial damages for the death of a loved one. In no way does that alter the grief the family feels, but the compensation can be used to pay end-of-life expenses as well as medical bills the person incurred while alive. In addition, the family may be compensated for any income the decedent may have contributed to their living expenses.
Lodi Wrongful Death Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Lodi wrongful death lawyer. When a member of your family dies, grief overshadows most things, including a wrongful death claim. However, the financial burden a family faces often leads to questions about what they can do. If the person died due to negligence, the family has the right to file a wrongful death claim. Call me at (209) 227-1931 anytime for free, friendly advise or (800) 404-5400 if you are outside the calling area. You can contact me online too.
I’ve practiced in Northern California for more than 35 years. During this time, I have helped residents, including those in Lodi, with wrongful death claims and truck and car accidents. I’ve also handled catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injury and motorcycle or pedestrian accident injuries.
I am a California member of the Million Dollar Advocates, a forum composed of trial lawyers who win $1 million for clients.
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