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Barry Doyle
Barry Doyle
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Chicago Ridge nursing home fined in choking death

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The Illinois Department of Public Health fined a Chicago Ridge Nursing Home after a resident there was served solid foods. The resident had recently received a g-tube to provide him with nutrition and was not supposed to receive solid foods. The g-tube was placed because the resident was no longer safe to swallow solid foods.

The CNA on duty provided the resident with a meal tray, even though there was no meal ticket for him at the nurse’s station. The resident was found unresponsive with several large pieces of food lodged in his windpipe. The cause of death was asphyxiation.

Most nursing homes make regular assessments of the resident’s ability to safely eat solid foods by having a speech therapist do swallow evaluations. When the resident is no longer safe to eat solid foods, the diet order must be modified to allow the resident to eat either pureed to thickened foods, or if that is no longer an option, a g-tube must be considered.

Failing to follow the diet order for the resident can expose the resident to choking, as happened in this case, or to having food particles enter the lungs, which results in a type of infection known as aspiration pneumonia.