Nursing Home Resident Goes Outside to Smoke, Drowns in River; Court Rules in Favor of Nursing Home

March 18, 2022 | Aging Services Risk Management


A nursing home resident with dementia drowned in a river after walking away from the facility when she went outside to smoke. According to coverage in the January 2022 Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, a Louisiana court has ruled in favor of the defense--an uncommon ruling in cases involving residents who require dementia care.

The 66-year-old resident had Pick's disease, a type of frontotemporal dementia, and had been living at the nursing home for eight years. One evening, she went outside to smoke a cigarette and then walked away from the nursing home, as shown in surveillance video. After a three-day search, the resident's body was found; she had drowned in the river. The nursing home was less than half a...

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