How many times do we have to read about a nursing home (or assisted living facility) resident who, due to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, walks out of a facility and is later found dead?

The most recent report of this preventable tragedy comes from Cincinnati, Ohio. Dorotha Gifford, an 87-year-old woman, left a secured nursing wing at a Fairfield assisted living center and later died after being found in the cold. A spokesperson with HCR ManorCare, the owner of Heartland of Woodridge where Gifford was a resident, stated “In accordance with federal and state laws and regulations, we are not permitted to discuss individual residents who reside or have resided in the facility due to our commitment to patient confidentiality and resident rights.

Baloney! I will tell you why this resident died. She died because the facility did not have enough nurses to watch over the residents…she died because the facility did not have working door alarms which would alert staff to unauthorized departures…she died because this facility, like many others throughout the United States, placed profits over caring for its residents.

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at