Two Coronavirus-Related Wrongful Death Suits Filed Against Bria of Geneva, Alleging Negligence
An Illinois nursing home is facing two wrongful death lawsuits over an outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that caused more than 20 deaths among residents and staff.
Bria Health Services of Geneva, which operates nine Illinois facilities in the Chicago suburbs and near St. Louis, is accused of failing to take adequate protective measures and “leaving its vulnerable residents defenseless against the community spread of the virus.”
According to the lawsuit filed by Pamela Colwell in the Circuit Court of Kane County on Monday, her mother, Helen A. Osucha, was allegedly not isolated or tested for the coronavirus despite a rapid deterioration of her health.
Colwell wasn’t notified that her mother was seriously ill due to a coronavirus infection she had contracted at the facility, the complaint claims. Osucha passed away in April. The Kane County Coroner’s Office confirmed that she died from the virus and said she was tested by the nursing home prior to her death.
A second lawsuit making similar allegations against Bria of Geneva was filed on Tuesday by Donald James, the husband of Lucille Helen James, who died this month due to coronavirus-related complications.
According to the suit, a representative of the facility had emailed James’ daughter to inform her that her mother had a cough and was showing signs of pneumonia. Despite those symptoms, James wasn’t isolated or tested for COVID-19 as requested by her family, the lawsuit alleges.
Both lawsuits claim the facility didn’t confirm its first case of COVID-19 until April, even though several of its residents started showing symptoms of respiratory infections in March. The facility purportedly ignored directives from the government, including guidance based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that was issued specifically for nursing homes to help control the spread of COVID-19.
The lawsuits also claim that the facility failed to procure enough testing kits for residents until late April, when it reported more than 50 positive COVID-19 cases. By May 8, the facility recorded 114 cases and 21 fatalities among residents and staffers, according to the complaints.
Nursing homes like Bria Health Services of Geneva are required to have an infection prevention and control plan in place in case of disease outbreaks. Facilities that don’t take government-recommended precautions to protect residents may be held liable for any resulting deterioration in health or death.
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