Deaths of Veterans Point to Issues at Wisconsin Veterans’ Home

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on December 28, 2022 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Updated on April 24, 2024

two veterans die at same facilityTwo residents living at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King died in 2021. What makes these deaths stand out is that personal accounts of these incidents, along with federal inspection reports, seem to indicate an underlying problem of negligence.

Veterans homes, just as with any nursing home or assisted living facility, owe a duty to ensure the care they provide meets acceptable standards. Not taking reasonable steps to meet this level of care is considered negligence.

Events leading up to the death of these two veterans seem to indicate a pattern of negligence, and these incidents are not the first of this kind for King.

Who Were the Two Victims at Wisconsin Veterans Home at King?

Wisconsin Veterans Home at King is a long-term care facility that caters to veterans from all branches of military service. They also accept spouses of veterans, surviving spouses of veterans and parents who lost a son or daughter in combat.

Both of the victims served in the U.S. military. Ricky Engstrom served in the United States Air Force and Thomas “Tom” Link in the United States Army.

Ricky Engstrom, Veteran USAF

Ricky Engstrom, who had been a resident at King since 2016, liked to smoke his pipe and nearly always carried his bag of tobacco on his lap. In February 2021, when he was just 66, Engstrom caught fire while smoking his pipe and suffered severe burns.

Engstrom served in the Vietnam war and was exposed to Agent Orange during his tour of duty there. According to his military medical records, it was his exposure to these chemicals that led to his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis at the young age of 29.

Stacy Kniprath, Engstrom’s daughter, says she believes her father’s death was the result of negligent care at King. At the time of the incident, Engstrom was experiencing the advanced stages of MS, yet staff left him unattended to smoke.

Just two days later, Engstrom died as a result of the burns he suffered when his clothing caught on fire.

Thomas “Tom” Link, Veteran, US Army

The other victim, Thomas “Tom” Link served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1958. He worked as a demolition expert during his tour of duty in the armed services.

Link’s daughter, Sharon Alvord says her father went to stay at King after having surgery in 2021. According to Alvord, her mom drove an hour every day to visit her father and feed him. Alvord says that the staff “pretty much ignored him and weren’t checking his vitals or blood sugars. If mom wasn’t there to feed him, he wouldn’t have eaten.”

A federal inspection report written up after the incident supports Alvord’s statements about her father’s blood sugar levels not being checked regularly. In fact, according to this report, staff did not check his blood sugar levels for a number of days.

The Milwaukee Sentinel reported that this failure to examine Link’s blood sugar levels over several days led to his death. Link died on August 3, 2021, as a direct result of this negligence.

Call PKSD When You Need Legal Help

PKSD is dedicated to representing elderly victims injured by the negligence of others. If you suspect your loved one is the victim of negligence or abuse at his or her nursing or veterans home, we are prepared to help.

You can reach our firm 24/7 to request a completely free case review. During this no-risk meeting with one of our experienced Wisconsin-based nursing home abuse attorneys, you can get answers to your legal questions. We can explain potential legal options and whether you may have a valid case.

Worried about the cost? The good news is that we take nursing home negligence and abuse cases on contingency. What this means for you is no upfront cost and also no fees while we manage your case. Call our law offices to learn more about how this works.

We can arrange this meeting to be by phone, in person or via video conference.

Request your FREE Case Review today. 414-333-3333

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