A Sangamon County jury has compensated a family $6.75 million for the wrongful death and neglect of their loved one, Robert Folder, who died in 2014 after a fatal incident at Lewis Memorial Christian Village nursing home. Folder was being loaded into a van outside the nursing home when the van’s wheelchair lift became stuck, according to a lawsuit filed by his widow Mary and the couple’s two sons. While the van’s driver called for help, the lift sprang upward without warning, catapulting Folder to the ground, according to the lawsuit and a report prepared by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Folder suffered a broken neck.
Mary Folder was present and asked that the staff call 911, according to the lawsuit. Instead, the nursing home’s staff wheeled her husband back into the nursing home, then transferred him from his wheelchair to a bed without checking for neck injuries. Robert Folder wasn’t taken to a hospital until an hour after the mishap. He died less than three weeks later.
According to Folder’s death certificate, he died of respiratory failure caused by a broken neck. He’d been admitted to the nursing home five months earlier after suffering a broken leg.
The state fined the nursing home $50,000 after finding the wheelchair lift had broken parts and hadn’t been properly maintained. Federal regulators levied a $344,500 fine.