“Suffocating to death, even if for a short period of time, is a terrible way to die,” the family’s lawyer said.
“Suffocating to death, even if for a short period of time, is a terrible way to die,” the family’s lawyer said.

Nursing home suing family of man they killed

First a nursing home killed an elderly man - and now it's suing his family over his outstanding bill.

A jury awarded $US1 million ($A1.4 million) to the family of ailing wheelchair-bound Salvatore Niosi because a nurse at the Woodhaven Care Centre in the United States forgot to put in his dentures and fed him a sandwich, leading him to choke to death.

"Suffocating to death, even if for a short period of time, is a terrible way to die," said Clifford Argintar, the lawyer for the family of the 82-year-old grandpa.

But the nursing home is still countersuing Mr Niosi's kin, claiming the family owes it money over his stay there, thanks to an alleged clerical error with his Medicaid application.

The lawyer for the victim's estate, Michael Regan, baulked.

"My position is that the nursing home shouldn't financially benefit from killing this guy,'' he said.

Mr Niosi had been at the facility for six years after suffering multiple strokes that left him immobile and unable to speak or even swallow properly, Mr Argintar said.

The elderly man's medical chart specified pureed food only.

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But on December 13, 2013, a Woodhaven Care nurse fed him a sandwich without reading his chart or even putting in his dentures, and he choked to death within three minutes, relatives said.

The staff took a half-hour to even call 911, their lawyer said.

An autopsy report later listed Mr Niosi's cause of death as choking and included the note, "food material in airway".

Mr Niosi's daughter, Silvia Teixiera, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the nursing home in June 2015.

The nursing home admitted its error on the eve of trial, and a jury was charged only with deciding a monetary verdict for Mr Niosi's suffering - which they reached last week after a four-day trial in Suffolk County.

Ms Teixiera said her father died 10 months before the birth of her daughter.

"It would have been nice for him to know he had another grandchild,'' the mother of four told The Post.

"It's sad that he had to go in that way, and that he had to have panic in his face, and that I wasn't there with him," the 41-year-old woman added.

Neither Woodhaven nor its lawyer returned requests for comment.

This article originally appeared on New York Post and was reproduced with permission



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