On January 8, 2006 Susan Palmer was a patient at a Miami Nursing Home for several weeks. She had been sent there after a broken hip for long term care. She had swallowing difficulties and was a significant risk for aspiration. As a result, she was on a special diet and had to be supervised during meals.
At 4:30 p.m. on January 29, 2006 Ms. Palmer choked on food while being fed by a nurses’ aide at the facility. When her airway became obstructed the nursing staff failed to initiate the Heimlich maneuver or perform appropriate CPR. As a result, when the paramedics arrived she was irreversibly brain damaged and subsequent died at the Aventura Medical Center. Both the rescue squad and the medical examiner documented food in the airway as the cause of her death. Further, the records of the facility demonstrated that Ms. Palmer began choking at approximately 4:30 p.m. and the paramedics were not called until 30 minutes later. The failure to timely call 911 and perform life sustaining measures prior to their arrival caused anoxic brain injury and death.
At the time of her admission, Ms. Palmer signed an arbitration agreement requiring the parties to resolve any controversy in an arbitration proceeding. This went forward and an arbitration award was entered on November 16, 2008 finding in favor of the Plaintiff and awarding the surviving spouse $425,000.