Many nursing homes have anti-smoking policies where residents are not allowed to smoke on the grounds. However, some still allow residents to smoke, but they are monitored and wear special aprons designed to prevent the patient from catching their clothes on fire. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the family of one resident is wondering how long she was left unattended after she suffered fatal burns while smoking just before Mother’s Day.
Three days before the incident, the nursing home had taken away 83-year-old Donna Chapman’s motorized wheelchair. They said that she was bumping into things because her right arm was getting weaker. An attendant wheeled her out onto the patio to have a cigarette before dinner. According to the nursing home, she was unattended for no more than 10 minutes.
When the attendant returned to check on Chapman, she was on fire. Instead of using the fire-smothering blanket located on the patio, she ran to get help.
This occurred on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Chapman lingered in the burn unit over Mother’s Day and died at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
Now, Chapman’s family has questions. They do not believe the story administrators at NHC Healthcare are telling. Chapman’s daughter-in-law, Mary Portscheller, believes that Chapman was unattended for longer than 10 minutes based on how deep and how severe the burns were.
A nursing home administrator declined to comment further on the story and the family is awaiting the details of the coroner’s report before proceeding further.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect while in a nursing home, call the attorneys at the law offices of Schenk Smith. We can help you get the compensation that you deserve. Call us today.