Here is a sad story that is inexcusable.

Clay Nelson, age 66, moved into a Tennessee nursing home after suffering a stroke. His Care Plan recommended that he be supervised while eating. During dinner one night, Mr. Nelson was found unresponsive. Resuscitative measures were undertaken and pieces of a baked pear were removed from his airway. He was later transferred to a hospital where he died due to asphyxiation by food in the larynx.”

One of Mr. Nelson’s three sons filed suit against the nursing home, claiming it failed to provide appropriate supervision while Mr. Nelson was eating. The allegations included assertions that the nursing home was dangerously understaffed and did not have enough nursing assistants to deliver basic care to the residents. The nursing home, although denying responsibility, paid $1.2 million to settle the claim.

My Take: Most nursing homes operate without a sufficient number of nurses and nurse aides to properly care for its residents. Why? Because every dollar paid to a nurse or aide is one less dollar of profit for the owners of the facility. Make sure the nursing home caring for your loved one has sufficient staff to provide the care the residents have paid for and deserve.

For more information on what are appropriate staffing levels, please read the information provided by The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (formerly NCCNHR or the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform.

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