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Champaign nursing homes under investigation

Authorities are investigating a Champaign nursing home after an 89-year-old resident was found dead outside of the facility this past weekend. The facility, Helia Healthcare, recently paid fines for three separate violations in the last eleven months. The county coroner’s office reported that initial indications reveal that the victim, Annette White, likely died from exposure to the cold. She was last seen indoors during dinnertime and may have made her way outside sometime afterward. She was found at 12:11 a.m. on December 31st and pronounced dead.

Champaign police, the county coroner’s office, and the Illinois Department of Public Health are all involved in the investigation into this resident’s death. The facility has only a single-star rating on Medicare’s five-star scale, and previous violations by the Illinois Department of Public Health reveal that the home was forced to pay for three class “B” violations (a $2,200 penalty for each) as a result of surveys from February of 2016 as well as August and November of 2017.

Unfortunately, this type of occurrence is not isolated. Another local facility, The Champaign County Nursing Home, had a similar incident on June 6th, 2017, when the body of Sonya Kington was found in the outdoor courtyard. Ms. Kington, who suffered from dementia was a memory-care patient at the nursing home. An investigation by the Illinois Department of Public Health revealed that staff members propped open the doors to the courtyard allowing Kington to enter the courtyard. When she was found, over three hours later, she was unresponsive, hot to the touch, and deceased.

It is the responsibility of elder care facilities to properly observe their residents and protect them from harm, especially during extreme weather months when exposure to the elements can be deadly. When the actions of the staff and management of a facility are negligent in any way, they may be held liable for a resident’s injuries or death. In the case of the Champaign County Nursing Home, we have filed suit against them due to their negligent conduct which resulted in the avoidable death of Ms. Kington.

Our thoughts are with the families of these victims, and we will keep you updated when more details emerge. To read the recent report in The News-Gazette, click here. To learn more about the legal action taken by Spiros Law, P.C. on behalf of the Kington family, read the news release here.