Aspiration pneumonia is a breathing condition in which the lungs become infected as a result of food, liquids, saliva or vomit being breathed into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs.
Aspiration pneumonia is among the most common reasons for hospitalization of nursing home residents. Those who contract the infection are three times more likely to die than are other nursing home residents.
The elderly are most susceptible to this infection, as immune systems become compromised with age. With proper attention and treatment, however, the condition can be prevented.
Risk factors for breathing foreign material into the lungs include, among others:
- Old age
- Cognitive deficits caused by sickness, medications or other reasons
- Problems swallowing
- Poor gag reflex following a stroke or brain injury
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- General anesthesia
Symptoms of Aspiration Pneumonia
Symptoms include these, among others:
- Coughing up green or dark phlegm
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Blue discoloration of the skin
- Bad breath
Nursing Home Laws
Nursing home and hospital operators have a legal duty to exercise a high degree of care in attending to their residents and patients, respectively. When they fail to meet this duty, they may be held responsible for the resulting injuries and damages.
Reasonable measures should be taken to prevent aspiration pneumonia from occurring. A well trained and alert staff is the first line of defense. In addition, when the condition does develop, it must be promptly detected and properly treated. Again, a vigilant staff and expert medical professionals are essential. Neglect is never acceptable.
Our Lawyers Can Help You
Our injury lawyers and staff want to help you, in the unfortunate event that you need our help. Just e-mail or telephone us for a free, no obligation, confidential consultation.
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We provide professional attorney services for these types of abuse and neglect, among others:
- Pressure Ulcers
- Fall Injuries
- Hip and Other Bone Fractures
- Dehydration and Water Deprivation
- Medication Errors and Chemical Restraints
- Sepsis/Septic Shock
- Aspiration Pneumonia
- Failure to Develop or Follow Care Plans
- Feeding Tube Injuries
- Physical Abuse by Staff or Others
- Sexual Assault by Staff or Others
- Suspicious or Unexplained Injuries or Death
- Wandering Off (Elopement)