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January 19th, 2011

When a nursing home residents dies, a coroner can play a crucial role in determining whether or not nursing home abuse or neglect contributed to the death. States such as Kentucky currently do not require that a coroner be called in for nursing home deaths. However, a bill proposed by Kentucky Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, aims to require by law that nursing homes report all deaths to coroners.

Coroners from Illinois have spoken out on the vital role a coroner can play in identifying nursing home abuse related deaths.

Jeff Lair, a coroner in Morgan County, IL spoke about an incident last year where he determined a nursing home resident died from choking on a piece of ham. That particular resident was supposed to be on a special diet and be supervised when eating, which led to a citation to the nursing home for their negligence.

Lair asks that all nursing homes in his county report deaths to him so that abuse or neglect related deaths are appropriately handled.

“We have to speak for these people,” said Effingham, IL coroner, Leigh Hammer. “We have to give them a voice. Just because they are elderly doesn’t mean that they were meant to die.”

If you suspect a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect it is important to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss the situation and your legal options.


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