A grieving family likely has many questions after the death of an 86-year-old female nursing home resident who was found in a freezer. They likely placed their trust in the staff, believing that their loved one would receive proper care toward the end of her life. In most long-term care facilities here in Texas and across the country, that is precisely what happens. All too often, though, a tragedy such as this one shows the devastating consequences of nursing home negligence.
Authorities say that the resident had dementia and was living in what was supposed to be a secure unit at the nursing home facility. However, the resident left that unit on the evening in question and staff was unsure how it happened, saying that an alarm that should have sounded failed to do so. Once they realized she was missing, they searched for two hours before finally calling police. The woman was finally located in a walk-in freezer, but it was too late to save her.
The incident is still under investigation by the state department of health as it is not entirely clear how the woman died. Police are also looking into what happened and may file criminal charges if they deem it necessary. Federal ratings standards do not give the nursing home a high rating, though a recent inspection reportedly prompted staff to address minor problems.
The family of the woman has not publicly spoken to the media but would appear to have grounds to file civil litigation. If the investigations suggest that this tragedy may be due to nursing home negligence, then a wrongful death lawsuit may be a means of holding those responsible financially accountable. A family here in Texas who has questions about the death of their loved one in a nursing home may want to reach out to an attorney for help.