Nursing Home Negligence Can Cause Death by Choking or Suffocation

Nursing Home Negligence Can Cause Death by Choking or Suffocation

Nursing Home Neglect Puts Residents at Risk of Choking or Suffocation in Missouri & Kansas

Thousands of people die each year because of choking or suffocation throughout the United States, including in Missouri and Kansas. Many of those people are elderly individuals. Nursing home residents may have trouble swallowing or have conditions that could increase their risk of choking or suffocation. Without adequate care and supervision at a nursing home, a resident could sustain permanent brain damage or death from choking or suffocation.

If your loved one suffered an injury or died due to choking or suffocation at a nursing home, call our nursing home abuse attorney in Kansas City, Missouri at 816-203-0143 for a free consultation.  We can help you understand your rights under Missouri or Kansas law.

Risk Factors for Choking or Suffocation at Nursing Homes

Common risk factors that increase the chance a nursing home resident in the Kansas City area may choke or suffocate include:

  • nursing home bedTrouble swallowing food and liquids (dysphagia)
  • Having dentures or very few teeth makes it more difficult to chew food
  • Medication side effects, including dry mouth
  • Advanced age
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, and cerebral palsy
  • Gastrointestinal reflux (GERD)
  • Degenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Having poor posture, which can increase the risk of food becoming lodged in the airway

Under both Missouri and Kansas law, nursing homes have a duty of care to prevent suffocation and choking. Nursing home negligence and abuse may be the cause of a patient’s death from suffocation or choking. Failing to take adequate steps to reduce the risk of choking and suffocation may result in a wrongful death lawsuit or personal injury lawsuit against the nursing home and other parties.

How Kansas City Nursing Homes Can Avoid Choking and Suffocation Deaths

There are many steps that a nursing home can take to decrease the risk of choking and suffocation. Some steps that nursing homes in Missouri and Kansas should take to protect residents include, but are not limited to:

  • Adjusting a patient’s diet to reduce choking hazards
  • Having protocols in place for emergencies
  • Adequately training staff members regarding feeding procedures and suffocation/choking risks
  • Staffing the nursing home with an adequate number of staff members to care for residents
  • Properly vetting potential employees to ensure they have the qualifications and skills required to care for residents
  • Install cameras and other monitoring systems
  • Institute a clear and comprehensive schedule for caregivers to follow

When the nursing home fails to develop, initiate, and follow a strict caregiving plan, residents are at higher risk of choking and suffocation. Under Missouri and Kansas law, nursing homes can be held legally liable for failing to take steps to reduce the risk of choking and suffocation and failing to respond adequately if a patient chokes or cannot breathe.

Types of Nursing Home Negligence or Abuse Causing Choking or Suffocation

Administrators and staff members may fail to act or act in ways that directly increase a resident’s risk of choking or suffocation in nursing homes. Some common forms of nursing home negligence that may lead to a suffocation or choking death include:

  • Failing to sit a patient upright during feeding
  • Not cutting up food into small portions
  • Failing to feed residents who have difficulty feeding themselves
  • Failure to monitor residents during meal times
  • Rushing residents as they eat
  • Failing to review a resident’s risk factors for choking or suffocation
  • Failing to follow set caregiving schedules
  • Not conducting in-person checkups

While feeding is a common cause of nursing home choking and suffocation deaths, there could be other causes. For example, patients with medical devices that help them breathe could choke or suffocate if the devices are not cleaned and maintained correctly. Failing to check on patients to ensure that breathing machines and ventilators are being used correctly could also contribute to choking and suffocation in nursing homes.

Improperly dressing a patient or restraining a patient could increase the risk of suffocation or choking. Failing to remove choking hazards, such as extra pillows, could also contribute to suffocation.

Legal Claims for Choking or Suffocation in Nursing Homes in Missouri & Kansas

In both Kansas and Missouri, nursing homes owe a duty of care to their residents to provide adequate care, including reducing the risk of choking and suffocation. Death by choking or suffocation is preventable. Our Kansas City nursing home abuse law firm fights to hold nursing homes accountable when negligence and intentional acts result in a resident’s injury or death because of asphyxiation.

The laws in Missouri and Kansas allow family members can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. Missouri and Kansas wrongful death laws exist to hold negligent parties legally liable for damages caused by the death of a family member. While a monetary settlement does not bring back your loved one, it does force the nursing home to account for its actions, which could prevent other residents from suffering the same fate in the future.

Asphyxiation cases against nursing homes require the assistance of our skilled, experienced Kansas City nursing home injury attorney. At the Law Office of Kevin J. McManus, our personal injury attorney regularly pursues claims against Missouri and Kansas nursing homes for abuse and neglect.

There is no excuse for failing to care for a nursing home resident. Our Kansas City nursing home abuse lawyer is dedicated to seeking justice for nursing home residents and their families. We fight tirelessly to recover the compensation you and your loved one are entitled to receive because of nursing home abuse and neglect.

Contact Our Kansas City Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

If your loved one has suffered due to nursing home negligence, call the legal team at the Law Office of Kevin J. McManus at 816-203-0143 or complete our online contact form.


Our law firm offers free consultations and stands ready to assist. We are here to provide legal advice, support, and guidance as you and your family fight to get answers and hold negligent parties accountable.


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