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Authorities investigate recent nursing home death in Chicago area


Nursing facilities across the country, including those in Illinois, are supposed to be safe places in which residents can have their basic care and medical needs met every day. Unfortunately, neglect and negligence have become more frequent in recent years as larger numbers of people enter facilities.

One apparent case of Chicago nursing home neglect recently came to light when an elderly nursing home resident was found unconscious with a couple of pairs of gloves stuffed in his throat and eyeglasses and a toothbrush lodged his rectum. Several hours later he was pronounced dead in an Indiana hospital

The 72-year-old Burnham nursing home resident was allegedly suffering from a psychological condition known as polyembolokoilamania. The condition causes a person to compulsively insert objects inside his or her body cavities. The man also suffered from cardiac problems, dementia and bipolar disorder.

The unresponsive man was found early in the morning in the nursing home's dining room. He was transported to a hospital in nearby Hammond, where he was later declared dead. After several hours of investigating the death on the assumption that it was a homicide, the Burnham police department finally concluded that the death was accidental. Still, the Illinois Department of Public Health is investigating the death and the man's treatment beforehand.

Although the man apparently suffered some mental disorder or impairment, he may also have received less than adequate care by the nursing facility. If the man's family suspects that the nursing home staff was negligent and the man died as a result, then the nursing home operators could be liable for compensation to the dead man's family, as well as potentially face criminal charges. Residents and family members of those who have been abused or neglected should speak with an attorney to understand the legal options available to them.

Source: The Times, "Dead Burnham nursing home resident had objects in throat, rectum," Lauri Harvey Keagle and Joseph S. Pete, May 15, 2015

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