Man found dead after wandering from nursing home

An 82-year-old nursing home resident was recently found dead in an elevator at a building next door to his nursing facility. The man had been missing since July 5, when he was last seen at his nursing home in a western state wearing a gray and white shirt and pajama pants.

According to the man's daughter, he had gone to check his mailbox, went to the nursing home office and that was the last anyone had seen of him. At the time, in an interview, the daughter said that her father had simply disappeared.

Several weeks later, after residents of a close by apartment building complained of a smell in the parking garage, maintenance workers found the man's body. It was in a broken elevator, found on nearly a month after he had gone missing.

Somehow, the man entered the elevator and couldn't get out. Over a period of eight minutes, there is a record of the man hitting the emergency button two times. The emergency button should have notified the local fire department, but fire officials say that they do not have a record of ever getting a call.

However, police say that an elevator management company got the alert and told the management of the building. Apartment workers went to look in two of the elevators, but they didn't look in the final, third elevator, where the man was located. Allegedly, the elevator involved had not been in use for several weeks because it was in an area under renovation.

This tragic and unnecessary death is extremely unfortunate. That's because, if only one of the numerous people involved had taken some level of reasonable care, this elderly man would still be alive. Who is negligent?

The long list of negligent parties, in this case, could include the staff at the nursing home, the police department that received the alert, possibly the fire department for failing to ensure the elevator's emergency button notified them of problems, the owner of the building next door failing to check all elevators and for leaving a faulty elevator unsupervised and unrepaired and the apartment employees that failed to check all elevators after the alarm. Other at-fault parties could also exist in this very unfortunate elder neglect and personal injury matter.

Source: Washington Post, "He pushed an elevator’s alarm button but no one came, officials say. Weeks later, his body was found.," Samantha Schmidt, Aug. 11, 2017

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