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Nursing Home Employee Arrested After Woman Freezes to Death

Published on Jan 30, 2024 by Thomas Law Offices.

Nursing Home Employee Arrested After Woman Freezes to Death

A 58-year-old East Lansing, Michigan, assisted living facility employee is facing vulnerable adult abuse charges, a second-degree felony that carries with it a potential 4-year prison sentence after an 82-year-old resident died under their care last year.

The defendant, who, according to her attorney, has worked at this facility for years and has at least 35 years of blemish-free caregiving history, had a $5,000 bond imposed after her arraignment in late November.

She continued working in the facility for nearly a year following the deadly incident before her arrest.

What the Defendant Reportedly Did

A Michigan Department of Attorney General press release published on Nov. 21 chronicles how the Vista Springs Imperial Park at Timber Ridge staff member reportedly allowed the decedent to venture out into a blizzard twice on Dec. 23, 2022.

A joint investigation conducted by the Bath Township Police Department and the state Attorney General revealed that there was drifting, blowing snow and a subzero windchill during the early morning hours when the elderly assisted living facility resident went outside, yet despite witnessing her depart the facility twice, the now-arrested worker made no attempt to ensure that the resident was properly dressed for the elements.

Clinton County prosecutors contend that the nursing home worker “recklessly failed to act to prevent” the elderly resident from going out into the extremely hazardous weather conditions, arguing that caregivers have a legal responsibility to protect vulnerable individuals under their care.

How the Assisted Living Facility Resident Died

In this case, the elderly nursing facility resident was ultimately discovered by a snowplow operator, who came to clear away the snow that had accumulated near the assisted living home at around 7 a.m., several hours after she ventured out into the elements. She was at least partially covered by snow.

Investigators believe the resident may have initially gone outside to walk her dog and became disoriented, leading to her death.

Paramedics were immediately summoned to the scene to transport the woman to the hospital, but she succumbed to hypothermia soon after arriving.

Understanding Your Options If a Nursing Home Breaches Their Duty of Care

Individuals live in assisted living facilities as opposed to at home alone or with family for a reason; they expect to receive support and oversight of their actions to ensure that they remain as happy, healthy, and safe as possible.

Caregivers have a legal obligation to be observant and do their best to prevent those in their care from suffering preventable harm. Based on the cases we receive calls about at our law firm, this often doesn’t happen, though. Staff abuse or neglect Chicago nursing home residents instead.

If an employee at an assisted living facility failed to exercise their duty of care obligation to protect you or a family member from harm, Thomas Law Offices is here to support you.

We offer free consultations to discuss the neglectful treatment that occurred and your rights to pursue compensation for the losses you incurred because of it.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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