Elmer Huntsman was admitted to Elmwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on August 26, 2008. Huntsman was required to sleep with a continuous positive airway pressure system device (CPAP), which forced air into his lungs and helped him to breathe at night.
Early in the morning on October 5, 2008, Huntsman began suffering distress, severe oxygen desaturation, and shortness of breath. He called for help from facility staff members, but they refused. Instead, the day staff called for a non-emergent hospital transfer the next morning. By the time Huntsman got to the hospital around 9:15 a.m., he had fixed and dilated pupils and his body showed signs of lividity. Huntsman also had a urinary tract infection, weight loss, and Stage 2, 3, and 4 pressure sores on his buttocks and coccyx.
Huntsman’s family filed an 18-count lawsuit in Madison County, Illinois against the facility, its owners, and Fox Med-Equip, the maker of the CPAP machine. The lawsuit alleges that Elmwood failed to properly assess Huntsman’s condition, failed to adequately supervise him, and failed to recognize and treat his condition. Fox Med-Equip is accused of failing to have adequate procedures in place to ensure its equipment performed satisfactorily, failed to provide appropriate monitoring of its equipment to ensure it was used in accordance with doctor’s orders, and failed to provide adequate documentation for the set up of the machinery and proper staff training.
The nursing home abuse lawsuit seeks compensatory damages for pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience, physical impairment, loss of capacity to enjoy life, loss of chance of survival and loss of remainder of life. Michael Huntsman, his son, also seeks a judgment of more than $800,000 plus punitive damages and attorney’s fees.