Blind octogenarian dies after choking on candy at South Side nursing home: lawsuit

A blind nursing home resident who struggled to swallow solid food and required supervision while eating died after choking on a piece of hard candy at the South Side facility where she lived, a lawsuit alleges.

Christine Young, an 89-year-old resident of Symphony of Morgan Park, 10935 S. Halsted St., died March 25, 2015, after choking on a piece of peppermint hard candy, according to a wrongful death lawsuit Young’s niece and the executor of her estate brought against the nursing home March 23.

The suit, which names the facility’s two nursing home administrators, director of nursing and assistant director of nursing, alleges a violation of the Nursing Home Care Act and common law negligence.

Symphony of Morgan Park, which was then known as Renaissance Park South, “failed to supervise [Young] while she was eating to observe, identify and prevent choking incidents,” “failed to oversee the comprehensive assessment of [Young’s] needs” and “failed to develop an up-to-date resident care plan” for her, the suit claims.

The suit does not make clear how Young obtained the candy, and her executor’s lawyers declined comment on the case.

Their suit asserts that Young had a Ziploc bag of hard candy at her bedside on the day she died, and that she was blind and unable to retrieve a piece by herself. It doesn’t state whether she nonetheless managed to retrieve a piece herself or was given a piece of candy by a nursing home employee or visitor.

The 294-bed Symphony of Morgan Park has been cited for 36 health deficiencies over the past three years, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare website.

This article was first published by the Chicago Tribune.

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