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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today reports about a suit filed by the widow of a nursing home resident who died on August 5, 2004 of head injuries suffered in a fall down stairs at St. Johns Home on the east side of Milwaukee.

The suit, filed on July 18, 2007, alleges that John Mellinger was wheelchair bound following an earlier hip fracture injury, and that he was also suffering from dementia. He was found by a laundry room worker in the nursing home’s basement at the bottom of three flights of stairs, and died four days later. The suit alleges that the home was negligent in its care for Mr. Mellinger.

A few years ago we handled a similar case, involving a blind wheelchair-bound nursing home resident who had dementia. He was left unattended in a transit van for a few moments by the driver, who had failed to set the brakes on thewheelchair and left the rear door of the van open. The patient somehow rolled out the back of van and fell to the pavement, suffering a head injury from which he died several hours later.

Elderly patients with dementia who are sitting in wheelchairs can present a dangerous problem if not cared for properly.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Nursing Home and Elder Abuse.

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