The L.A. Times reported another story about a nursing home fined for allowing a resident to choke to death. This is the third story about choking deaths in nursing homes in the last couple of weeks. The nursing home was fined $80,000 after a 54-year-old schizophrenic patient choked on a meatball and died.
Raintree Convalescent Hospital had known the patient had problems swallowing. The spaghetti meatball served to him needed to be chopped or sliced before being given to him. Both the cook and the nursing assistant who served the meal failed to grind up the meatballs, as required. The cook failed to follow the directions for the patient’s meal by not mashing up the meatball. He also said the nursing assistant failed to look at the meal card on the patient’s tray — which would have been a second chance to catch the error — before serving the lunch.
"I just did not think to chop up his meat that day," the nursing assistant told state investigators. The facility was probably understaffed which did not allow her time to do her job properly.
The man stumbled out of his room, pale and unable to speak. After a nurse unsuccessfully attempted the Heimlich maneuver, paramedics were able to suction the meatball out of the man’s airway, but he was pronounced dead at a hospital emergency room.