Choking Does Not Have to Result in Death

Many patients who are in nursing homes are on special diets designed around their physical abilities and health needs. Patients with difficulty swallowing or poor dentition may be on a soft mechanical or pureed diet. Other patients may have dietary orders requiring all their meats to be cut into bite-sized portions to avoid choking while ensuring necessary nutrients are consumed. When these critical nursing home dietary orders are not precisely followed for each resident, the patient may ultimately choke and die. At the Law Offices of Glenn W. Cunningham, our nursing home neglect attorney in San Antonio, has over 30 years of experience handling a wide range of nursing home neglect cases, and we take pride in helping Texas families. If you have lost a loved one because of choking, you have legal options available—call now to learn more about how we can help and get your questions answered. We are sorry for the loss of a loved one and would love to help you find the justice and closure you deserve. 

Choking in Nursing Home Dining Rooms

Choking deaths also occur when the nursing home dining room is inadequately staffed, and no one on staff notices that the resident is choking until it is too late. Although the standard of care requires nursing homes to have at least one nurse who is certified in Basic Life Support (BLS), that individual may not be in the dining room when the resident chokes, or respond during the very limited timeframe between choking and death. Inadequate staffing issues are on the rise in Texas and throughout the US, which means that choking and other avoidable nursing home injuries and death are on the rise. 

Because nursing home staff are often worried about upsetting the other residents, many nursing homes do not perform the Heimlich maneuver or CPR in the dining room where the choking is taking place. Instead, the staff will often wheel the choking patient back to his or her room before performing the Heimlich maneuver or beginning CPR. This time-delaying decision is often the difference between life or death.

This intentional delay is further compounded by the physical reality of the patients: most elderly people have low oxygen reserves to begin with, and it often only takes a couple of minutes for them to become unconscious. This shortened recovery timeframe means that every second counts. Any time the brain is deprived of oxygen, brain damage or death is a likely result and the window for this to occur is very tight:

  • Brain damage is possible when the body is deprived of oxygen for 4-6 minutes
  • Brain damage is likely at 6-10 minutes
  • Brain damage is imminent after 10 minutes

When a person is choking to death, time is of the essence. However, nursing home staff members often squander the last precious minutes of a resident’s life by neglecting to timely perform life-saving procedures, such as the Heimlich maneuver and CPR. This decision can amount to actionable negligence against the nursing home. 

elderly man coughing into a napkin

Contact an Experienced San Antonio Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

If your loved one died in a nursing home because his or her dietary orders were not followed or there were delays in assistance, we can help you hold the negligent parties accountable. Learn more about the legal counsel available by scheduling your free initial consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. We can be reached online or by calling our office. Time is of the essence in filing a choking case, so do not hesitate to set up your free consultation with the Law Offices of Glenn W Cunningham today. We are ready to get started helping you today. 

Client Testimonials

I can’t say enough good things about Glenn Cunningham and his firm.

He took my case and fought for me from day one. Glenn and his staff were professional and caring. They kept me updated on all aspects of my case. We were able to go to mediation and reach a settlement that was more than fair. I would recommend Glenn to any of my friends and family. I am beyond pleased with how my case was handled and ultimately settled.


Glenn Cunningham is tough, smart, experienced.

A very deep heartfelt thank you to the whole team at the Law Offices of Glenn W. Cunningham. Glenn is tough, smart, experienced, and he will do everything in his power to make sure that you or your loved one get the best outcome possible from whatever personal tragedy you may be facing. He fought for me when no one else would. He will do the same for you.


I am grateful to Glenn Cunningham for the hard work he did

I am very pleased with the legal services provided by Glenn Cunningham. He is very competent, knowledgeable, caring, personable, and professional. If you are seeking justice for medical malpractice or wrongful death, Glenn will fight for you. He is tenacious and assertive on behalf of his clients. He also keeps you informed of the status of your case on a regular basis.


Glenn Cunningham knows his job well.

Glenn was amazing! Very knowledgeable, and Nicole, his secretary, is very helpful and knowledgeable as well. We never had a problem reaching someone at the office, and our questions were always answered promptly.


This is by far the best attorney for your malpractice case.

I wanted to thank Mr. Cunningham and his staff for there amazing work and dedication to my case and fighting for me when I couldn't. They truly were amazing and always kept my family and I updated on everything that was happening.

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