Food Poisoning Can Be Deadly – Especially for the Elderly
Everyone needs food to live. Sometimes we buy food at the grocery store, sometimes we buy food at a restaurant, sometimes we purchase fast food, and other times food is provided to us by someone caring for us. No matter the source, we expect our food to be of the highest quality and prepared properly. Failure to ensure these things can lead to food poisoning, which can actually be a life-threatening condition for some.
What is Food Poisoning?
The mayo Clinic defines food poisoning, also known as foodborne illness, as illness that results from eating contaminated food. This contamination is usually caused by bacteria, viruses, and/or parasites. These organisms, or the toxins that they release, can affect food at any point during its production and can also occur at home or in nursing home facilities if food has been handled improperly. Common food poisoning symptoms, most of which show up within a couple hours to a couple of days after being exposed to contaminated food, may include:
- Abdominal pain and cramps;
However, more serious cases could include dehydration, neurological symptoms like blurred vision, and bloody vomit or stool. More serious symptoms require immediate medical attention.
The United States Centers for Disease Control estimates that 48 million people are victims of food poisoning each year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. There are a number of pathogens that could be found in food that may cause food poisoning, but some the most common include:
- Salmonella can be present in raw or contaminated meat and will survive inadequate cooking;
- Escherichia coli (E. coli) can be present in contaminated beef, but also present in some unpasteurized products;
- Norovirus can be spread by raw produce or contaminated shellfish; and
- Campylobacter can be present in both meat and poultry as well as unpasteurized milk.
It is important to remember that, in addition to these common causes, food allergens can also lead to food poisoning. When a person eats something that they are allergic to, his or her body can have a serious and sometimes fatal reaction. That is why it is essential for nursing home staff to be aware of potential allergens and other dietary restrictions for each individual patient so that they can be sure meals are distributed safely and properly.
When Might a Nursing Home be Liable for Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning, especially severe cases and those resulting from allergens, can often be avoided. By informing staff of a patient’s dietary needs and/or restrictions, and by having protocol in place to ensure proper food handling, a nursing home can take proactive steps to avoid food poisoning. Just because a loved one experiences food poisoning as a result of food prepared and/or consumed in a nursing home does not necessarily make a nursing home liable if proper precautions were taken, but determining where fault may lie requires an investigation that you can work with a personal injury attorney to conduct.
Did your loved one suffer harm or death as a result of food poisoning in a nursing home? Call today to see if you have a case — Free Legal Consultation.
It is important to work with a personal injury attorney to investigate the circumstances surrounding your loved food poisoning in order to determine if the nursing home has any liability. To learn more about legal actions in cases involving nursing home neglect or abuse, contact our law offices today for a FREE legal consultation, where you can find out more information about whether or not the nursing home facility might be liable for compensation. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers can help evaluate the circumstances of an injury to help you determine if compensation might be available to you.
If you suspect that your loved one has been injured by or has experienced food poisoning as a result of his or her stay in a nursing home, contact our personal injury lawyers to schedule a free legal consultation and discuss the circumstances surrounding your suspicions.
We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation to help you understand your rights and the value of your case. Our personal injury law firm takes cases involving elder abuse and neglect. We offer legal service to clients in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
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