National Law Review reported the settlement in a choking case where the staff ignored the doctor’s diet restriction order. The elderly man who died was provided food that was not permitted in his diet program and was allowed to eat unsupervised, even though he was at high risk of choking. Antonio Mares died on November 9, 2012 when a nursing assistant was unable to properly perform the Heimlich maneuver while he was choking.
Center for Hispanic Elderly in Wicker Park has agreed to a settlement of $875,000 after nurses failed to follow doctors’ orders and a patient died. Antonio Mares was prescribed a diet of mechanical-soft food by his doctor due to medical complications which increased his risk of choking. As he was at an elevated risk, he was also to only be fed while under the supervision of a nurse or nursing assistant. On November 9, 2012, both of these directives were ignored when a certified nursing assistant provided him with a tray of food that did not meet his dietary specifications and then proceeded to leave him to eat unsupervised.
Mares fought for his life after he began to choke, using the call button to desperately gain the attention of nursing staff members. Nobody responded to the calls and it wasn’t until the nursing assistant returned to the room that anyone was aware of the issue. The CNA proceeded to attempt the Heimlich maneuver, but did not perform it properly.
Patients that are considered high-risk for choking should also never be left to eat without supervision or assistance. Mares was not only provided the wrong food for his special needs, but he was then left to fend for himself until he began to choke.