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Columbus-Area Widow Sues Local Nursing Home Over Husband’s Suffocation Death

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2021 | Press Release

Bereaved widow Luana Mowery has filed suit in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas stemming from the May 20, 2021 death of her husband, Paul L. Mowery, Jr. at Capri Gardens. Capri Gardens is a nursing and rehabilitation center located in Lewis Center, Ohio, just north of Columbus.

Mr. Mowery, 72, was a long-term care patient at Capri Gardens. He was also a tracheostomy patient dependent on oxygen therapy. A tracheostomy is a surgical procedure in which a hole (stoma) is created at the front of the neck, and a tube is placed into the trachea to keep the stoma open. The purpose of tracheostomy is to create an air passage to facilitate oxygen therapy, among other things. In Mr. Mowery’s case, oxygen flowed through a “tracheostomy mask” placed over the stoma. The tracheostomy mask was secured at the neck and connected to an oxygen source via oxygen tubing.

Mr. Mowery was found blue and unresponsive at approximately 7:50 AM on May 20th. His tracheostomy mask was neither on him nor immediately apparent within his room. He was subsequently pronounced dead. Autopsy results revealed that Mr. Mowery died due to “respiratory arrest due to removal of supplement oxygen therapy mask (inadvertent).”

Investigation of the incident revealed that the last person to see Mr. Mowery in his usual condition was a licensed practical nurse working at Capri Gardens. The nurse entered Mr. Mowery’s room at approximately 6:30 AM to provide care to Mr. Mowery. The nurse disconnected and removed Mr. Mowery’s tracheostomy mask because it was reportedly soiled. Rather than immediately re-apply a new tracheostomy mask and ensure Mr. Mowery was receiving oxygen, the nurse moved on to other tasks in Mr. Mowery’s room. The nurse then left Mr. Mowery’s room without reconnecting him to his oxygen source. Due to his physical condition, Mr. Mowery was unable to call for help or replace the tracheostomy mask himself, and thus, he suffocated to death.

Ms. Mowery alleges, among other things, negligence on the part of the nurse, the nursing home and its parent company, Foundations Health Solutions, LLC, and violation of Mr. Mowery’s rights under Ohio’s Nursing Home Patient Bill of Rights.

Mr. Mowery is also survived by three adult children.

Ms. Mowery is represented by Sara C. Nichols of Beausay & Nichols Law Firm. Defendants have not yet filed a response to Ms. Mowery’s suit.