A West Side nursing home agreed to an $875,000 settlement for the family of an elderly man who choked to death at the Wicker Park facility.
Antonio Mares choked to death on November 9, 2012 after a nursing assistant at the Center Home for Hispanic Elderly, 1401 N. California Ave., fed him food that did not comply with his physician’s diet orders, which called for mechanical-soft food only, according to a statement from the Levin & Perconti law firm, which represented Mares’ family, announcing the settlement Monday.
A certified nursing assistant who was assigned to assist Mares with his evening meal set up the food tray on his table, positioned him to begin eating then stepped away from the area, according to the lawsuit. Mares ate the food unsupervised and began to choke.
After realizing that Mares was choking, the nursing assistant unsuccessfully attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver, according to the lawsuit. He also used the call light to ask for help, but no one responded. Mares was later pronounced dead after further life-saving efforts also proved unsuccessful.
The family’s attorneys faulted understaffing and improper training for Mares’ death, pointing to “systemic problems” at the Center for Hispanic Elderly.
“Our family was robbed of the opportunity to properly say goodbye to my father, and while no sum of money will ever make up for our loss, we are hopeful that this settlement will incentivize the nursing home to make some needed changes,” Mares’ daughter, Isela Mares, said in the statement.
The Center for Hispanic Elderly did not immediately respond to request for comment Monday afternoon.