Elderly Woman Dies After Wheelchair Fall

When our elderly parents or other relatives become too infirmed to live on their own and we are unable to provide the day-to-day care they need, we often turn to assisted living facilities to provide for these loved ones.  Assisted living is a combination of housing, supportive services, personalized assistance and healthcare designed for the individual needs of those who need help with daily living activities and also instrumental activities of daily living. It is the long term care option preferred by many individuals and their families because of its emphasis on resident choice, dignity and privacy.  The majority of assisted living facilities are quality institutions with competent employees who take excellent care of those residents under their care.

Although rare at first-rate assisted living facilities, accidental deaths do occur.  One such accidental death unfortunately occurred at a Decatur facility earlier this week.

Decatur Fire Chief Darwin Clark told the Decatur Daily newspaper that authorities received a call about an elderly woman falling into a ditch of water.  According to the report, a caregiver stated she went outside after a fire drill and discovered an elderly resident’s wheelchair had rolled down a hill into a ditch of water. 

Elizabeth Street, a 94-year-old resident of the Country Cottage Assisted Living facility who had lived at the home since  breaking her hip in October 2011, died three days after she was injured in the fall.  According to Street’s son-in-law, Wallace Everett, his mother-in-law developed pneumonia after the accident, but the cause of death has not been determined because she also suffered from congestive heart failure.  “Our objective now is to better understand what happened, why this happened and what can be done to prevent it in the future,” Everett said.

Nursing homes are obligated to provide a safe environment for their residents, as free from accidents and hazards as possible.  If your loved has  tragically died at an long-term care facility, an experienced Alabama personal injury lawyer can assist you by investigating the case, guiding your through the legal and financial aspects of your family loss, and by seeking punitive damages to help protect your financial future as you recover from the death of your loved one.