Elderly Woman Left Outside Dies of Heat-Stroke

ITN Article 9.6.2016 – Schenk Law

A recent study done by the University of Chicago Medical center found that 40% of heat-related fatalities occurred in the elderly. The ability to notice changes in body temperature decreases with age, leaving the elderly vulnerable during periods of high temperatures.

A Connecticut nursing home has been fined in the heat-related death of a patient. A 79-year-old woman residing in a Shelton, CT., nursing home died after being left outside in her wheelchair for three hours in 95-degree heat.

As nurses changed shifts at the Gardner Health Care Center, the woman had apparently been forgotten.

The death of Sally K. Gerrity, 79, on July 27, 2016, resulted in a $3,000 fine levied by the health department in the incident.

According to the citation, the nursing home declined to contest the fine.

In addition to the fine, Gardner Health had to agree to implement a 5-page plan of correction to address the concerns that the citation found.

Prior to her death, Garrity was described as having no cognitive defects but did require the assistance of two staff members to get around. When she visited the outdoor garden, she was given a cell phone to contact nurses when she wanted to come back inside.

On the date of her death, she went outside into the garden at about 1 p.m. A nurse checked on her at about 2 p.m. and they conversed while she drank some water.

A shift change occurred at 3 p.m. and that is when the staff at Gardner lost track of Garrity.

At 5 p.m., the staff noticed that Garrity had not called in to be brought in for dinner. She was discovered in her wheelchair, unresponsive.

She was immediately brought indoors and placed in her bed. According to the citation, her temperature at the time was 105.7 degrees. EMS was called to the scene, but because Garrity had a do not resuscitate and do not intubate orders, she was pronounced dead.

The nursing home was charged with a class “B” violation. The maximum fine for this kind of violation is $3,000.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of abuse or neglect while resident in a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the law offices of Schenk Law. Our attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.