Meyers & Flowers’ Peter J. Flowers and Michael Lenert filed suit on behalf of the families of COVID-19 victims Helen Osucha and Lucille James against Illinois nursing home Bria of Geneva.
The lawsuits, filed May 18 and May 19, 2020, outline how the nursing home failed Helen, Lucille, other residents, and staff. The facility neglected to adequately test or isolate infected residents putting residents, staff, and their families at risk. To date, more than a quarter of the residents at the facility have died from COVID-19.
Helen Osucha’s family had no idea she was sick until they received a call on April 26, 2020, that Helen had passed away. They didn't learn that she was suffering from COVID-19 until the funeral home told them days later.
On April 1, 2020, a nurse practitioner of Bria-Geneva emailed Lucille James’s daughter. She confirmed that Lucille had a cough and a chest x-ray that “showed some mild infiltrates (pneumonia).” Despite these symptoms, Lucille was neither isolated nor tested for COVID-19, as requested by her family.
Founding Partner Peter Flowers spoke with ProPublica, the Chicago Tribune, and other local media about the lawsuits: “They didn’t do anything to protect their residents. When they knew of a pending problem, they didn’t follow even the Illinois Department of Public Health’s suggestions. Our contention is that they were grossly negligent in how they took care of their patients. That is why so many of their patients have died.”
According to the suit, Bria-Geneva chose not to undertake reasonable measures to ensure its employees and staff members complied with the COVID-19 preventative directives of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The nursing home and rehabilitation center:
Failed to ensure adequate supplies of PPE were easily accessible to residents and staff.
Failed to continuously screen residents and staff, including temperature checks and use of checklists to identify symptomatic patients
Failed to enforce social distancing.
Failed to isolate any resident with signs and symptoms of a respiratory viral infection.
Failed to immediately contact the Kane County Health Department and IDPH of symptomatic residents to determine if COVID-19 testing was indicated.
Speaking to the Kane County Chronicle, Partner Michael Lenert explained the lawsuit is against the nursing home as an institution, not against its nurses or staff.
“This is a claim against the institution. It is in no way directed to medical staff or nurses,” Lenert said. “In fact, this lawsuit is filed not only for the residents who were neglected, but the nurses and staff who were not provided personal protective equipment or necessary safeguards to safely treat these residents. We do not want anyone to think this is directed to nurses or staff. It is the administration of Bria that failed everyone. That is what we want to make clear.”
If you have had issues with a nursing home and need assistance, contact the team at Meyers & Flowers. We are ready to help your family.