Wrongful Death Lawsuit May Alter Wisconsin Assisted Living Standards
In January of 2013 Delores Wiersum, a resident of the Wisconsin-based assisted living facility The Heritage, froze to death when she was locked out of her apartment. She wandered around the building shortly after midnight clothed only in her light pajamas.
Wiersum’s family sued ThedaCare, the owner of The Heritage facility, alleging a wrongful death claim. The family is being represented by the wrongful death lawyers at Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice, S.C.
PKSD Partner and Milwaukee personal injury lawyer Jeffrey Pitman recently noted that the facility’s lackadaisical approach was extremely dangerous in light of the elderly and forgetful nature of the facility’s residents. The attorneys at PKSD believe that assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Wisconsin have a greater duty to ensure that residents are not exposed to the extreme weather in Wisconsin.
Wiersum is not the only resident of a Wisconsin assisted living facility to die due to a facility’s negligence. Since 2012, more than 20 residents have died from injuries and neglect sustained in such facilities.
An in-depth report by the Green Bay Press Gazette details the 24 fatal accidents that have occurred at assisted living facilities across the state since 2012. On multiple occasions police have found residents fatally injured because of low standards of care that permitted residents to wander around in dangerous conditions.
If the courts agree with the family, a favorable wrongful death ruling may transform senior care standards throughout Wisconsin. Currently, lax standards permit facilities to abdicate their responsibilities to residents.
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Nine percent of Wisconsin’s 3,484 facilities received citations for violations from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. While this may seem like a small number, when it is your loved one that has been fatally injured and neglected, the trauma is immeasurable.
Even one preventable death is one too many.