Sharp v. Parkview Care Ctr., Inc., 2006 La. App. LEXIS 2128 (La. Ct. App. 2006)

Summary judgment for defendants was reversed. Resident, a stroke victim, was paralyzed on the right side including his mouth and throat. His condition interfered with chewing and swallowing. At admission, the dietician noted resident’s diet as no concentrated sweets and chop meat. Later it was changed to 1800 calorie diabetic diet, then later to chopped soft diet. In 1999, a barium swallow did not show any signs of difficulties in swallowing. In 2002, resident was alone in his room eating a sandwich when he began to choke. Resident wheeled himself into a hall, gestured for help, was found by a laundry attendant who called for nurses. Nurses administered the Heimlich and CPR until EMTs arrived. A quarter size piece of meat was removed from resident’s throat. He was transported to the hospital where he died. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiff presented no evidence of a deviation from the standard of care. One of Plaintiff’s experts opined that the physician deviated from the standard of care by not continuing the chopped, soft diet. Plaintiff’s nursing expert opinioned that the nursing home breached the standard of care by failing to document the record properly to indicate resident’s difficulty in swallowing and in failing to update the plan of care to reflect this problem. The court of appeals found that these opinions raised a genuine issue of material fact.

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