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Nursing home neglect deemed cause of businessman's death

Robert Frankel, a well-known Pennsylvania businessman, died in a nursing home in Pittsburgh on Sept. 17. He was the father of Dan Frankel, a member of the state House of Representatives. At the time, the medical examiner declared the cause of death to be accidental asphyxiation caused by the compression of the 89-year-old man's neck. However, the Health Department ultimately concluded that nursing home neglect was to blame.

According to the report, the patient's Alzheimer's disease caused severe cognitive impairment and mobility limitations, along with other physical issues. Side rails, which are sometimes used to help patients to reposition themselves, were ordered to be fitted to his bed. However, the elderly patient had apparently developed severely painful sensitivity in one hand. Investigators concluded trying to adjust the side rails with the use of only one hand was dangerous.

Frankel was found shortly before midnight by a nurse aid while checking on residents. Reportedly, he was lying on the floor with his neck caught between the side rail and the air mattress. He was not breathing, had no pulse and was pronounced dead by a nursing supervisor.

Any Pennsylvania family who has lost a loved one due to nursing home neglect likely has grounds to pursue a claim for monetary damages against the facility. An experienced personal injury attorney can help. To prevail, it will be necessary to prove that the facility was negligent in a manner that caused or materially contributed to the death. Once accomplished, a civil court will consider documented claims for financial losses.

Source:, "Bed rails cited as cause of Robert Frankel's nursing home death", Gary Rotstein, Nov. 10, 2017

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