It may seem unthinkable that someone could die of cold exposure while under medical care. Unfortunately, for a man in Washington State, it became a reality: his wife of 69 years died of hypothermia in a dementia-care facility last December.

Ninety-year-old Donald Sheldon says that his wife, Norma, was found in an enclosed courtyard at the Canterbury Gardens Alzheimer's Care Center. Investigators found that the doors to the courtyard were not alarmed, and that the 88-year-old woman likely wandered outdoors and succumbed to 28-degree temperatures.

Our attorneys and staff wish to express their deepest condolences to the Sheldons’ family and friends, and urge all Kentuckians to keep their elderly loved ones safe in freezing temperatures. In order to prevent future nursing home cold deaths, our legal team advocates that families check their relatives during visits for early symptoms of hypothermia, including:

  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Cold or pale skin
  • Stumbling or coordination problems
  • Bluish lips or nails
  • Stiffening of the limbs
  • Slow or interrupted breathing
  • Decreased or irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Drowsiness or exhaustion
  • Slurred speech or mumbling

The attorneys at Gray and White encourage all of our readers to share this information on Facebook or through email to all families who have loved ones in care facilities this winter. The best way to save a life is to prevent an accident from happening—and that begins with warning your friends and family to take care.

For more ideas on keeping your elderly relatives safe, we invite you to browse our related articles or call us today at 888-450-4456 to set up a FREE, private consultation to discuss your Pike County nursing home abuse case.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law
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