Nursing home death results in criminal charge

A nursing assistant, Heidi Leon, age 23, has been charged with criminal neglect and negligence in the death of a 89-year-old nursing home resident whose care she was in charge of her.

Charges against Leon were filed after Sarah Wentworth died on February 5th at the Arbor of Itasca nursing home in Chicago. The State’s attorney says that Wentworth’s death was not an accident, that her death was premature and caused by neglect.

On the morning of her death, Wentworth wandered out of the nursing home where she was a resident into subfreezing weather. Dressed only in bed clothes, she collapsed and froze to death in the courtyard of the nursing home.

Criminal charges of neglect are appropriate in this case. You see, Wentworth was wearing a device on her ankle which caused an alarm to sound if she left the building. On the morning she died, the alarm sounded but Leon apparently she did not investigate the cause of the alarm and she turned it off so that she wouldn’t be bothered and could continue watching TV.

It appears that there may have been some collusion between Leon and other employees at the home to cover of Wentworth’s death. They went so far as to change her clothes and put her into her bed to cover up what may prove to be a crime.

The article in the Chicago newspaper did not mention that Wentworth’s three daughters have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, however, we wouldn’t be surprised if a civil suit were to be filed in this case. In Washington State, if a person’s death was caused by another’s negligence or a wrongful act, then the family is entitled to bring a wrongful death suit to recover damages.

The Farber Law Group is an experienced personal injury and wrongful death law firm with offices in Seattle and Bellevue. We have represented families of victims in their wrongful death suits for more than 40 years.

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