Personal Injury

Man wanders from nursing home, killed by passing train

George King Sr., of Charleston, W.V., lived in Heartland of Charleston nursing home. He had Alzheimer’s Disease, and like many individuals suffering from the memory-loss disorder, King was prone to wander.

Many nursing homes who care for patients with Alzheimer’s have practices in place to ensure patients who wander stay within the nursing home wing where they live. But few practices are foolproof.

Late last month, King wandered from his nursing home. That evening around 8 p.m., staff noticed he was missing and notified police. After hours of searching for the 73-year-old man, police got a report of a pedestrian hit and killed by a CSX train. It was King.

“This happens daily,” said Jane Marks with the West Virginia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Unfortunately this situation was more dramatic and had a sad ending, but it does happen constantly.” Marks was quoted last month in The Charleston Gazette.

This morning, the newspaper reported that King’s children have now filed suit against Heartland of Charleston nursing home for wrongful death.

“George King Sr. could not care for himself or be allowed to walk outside the facility and the staff of the facility at Heartland of Charleston was aware of this fact,” the paper quotes the lawsuit.

The lawsuit contends that the staff of Heartland of Charleston failed to keep King secure and failed to utilize available resources to locate him. It also claims that staff did not immediately discover that King was missing nor did they properly use outdoor surveillance cameras to determine which direction he went when he left the nursing home. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages