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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Wisconsin Nursing Home

Jul 16, 2013

The family of an elderly Wisconsin woman who died after she wandered away from the nursing home where she lived has filed a lawsuit against the facility.

According to, the deceased woman’s family members said that The Heritage, a nursing home in Appleton, Wisc., never should have allowed her to wander away. Frigid temperatures were reported that day, and the woman, 85 at her death, had departed the nursing home and was missing for four hours. She was found collapsed in a pool of blood on a sidewalk in the small town.

The woman’s family says the autopsy performed on her revealed she was not the victim of an assault, as had been presumed, but had died after falling numerous times, which caused both bone fractures and bleeding. The woman fell at least five times but hypothermia was ruled to be the cause of her death. When she wandered from The Heritage nursing home, she was wearing just pajamas and a sweater. It was about 15 degrees F that day, according to the report.

At the time of her death, the woman was allegedly covered by a plan through The Heritage; it supposedly provided her with periodic two-hour check-ins after she had suffered a stroke several years ago. That protection would have likely prevented her from wandering away from her home for as long as she had, the lawsuit contends.

Further condemning the nursing home in question is the fact that one staff member had reported that the woman was in bed, asleep, at 2 a.m. on the night she died. Video surveillance tells another story. Cameras at the facility and around the small Wisconsin town show her leaving her room at The Heritage shortly after midnight and eventually wandering away until she stopped near a movie theater, according to the online report, citing details from the lawsuit filed against The Heritage.

The woman was also diagnosed with dementia and was labeled as a fall risk, which should have also prompted attention from caretakers at The Heritage. The family is seeking damages covering the woman’s pain and mental anguish and for wrongful death, according to

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