Nursing home found liable in 82-year-old’s choking death sues family over unpaid fees

National News

PORT JEFFERSON STATION, N.Y. (News 12/CNN) – The family of an 82-year-old man who died in 2013 is outraged after a New York nursing home, which accepted liability for the man’s death, has countersued, claiming the family owes money for the man’s stay there.

A jury awarded $1 million to the family of 82-year-old Salvatore Niosi after finding a nurse at the Woodhaven Care Center in Port Jefferson Station, NY, forgot to put in the man’s dentures and fed him a sandwich, leading him to choke on the food. He died within minutes.

“He didn’t deserve to die that way,” said Niosi’s daughter, Silvia Teixeira. “He deserved better. He deserved a different ending to his story.”

Teixeira filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home after learning from homicide detectives that her father’s death was caught on surveillance video by a camera at the nurse’s station.

Niosi’s chart specified he should be fed pureed food only, but the nurse did not read his chart or put his dentures in on the night of Dec. 13, 2013.

“The facility was understaffed that night, so he wasn’t being supervised. And there was a lack of timeliness to call 911. It was about 20 to 30 minutes before they called 911,” Teixeira said.

Woodhaven accepted liability for Niosi’s death one week before the case was set to go to trial, but now, the facility is countersuing Teixeira and her family, claiming they owe money for the 82-year-old’s stay there.

Teixeira says the countersuit is “a slap in the face.”

“They did wrong, they know they did wrong and it’s like they’re benefitting from his death. It’s like somebody murdering somebody and then asking for money,” she said.

Mediation in the case is scheduled for May. In the meantime, Teixeira hopes her victory in the wrongful death lawsuit leads to better patient care at Woodhaven.

“Every life matters, and I wanted his life, at the time of this happening – I wanted things to change for him,” Teixeira said.

Teixeira says the nurse involved in her father’s death no longer works at the nursing home.

Copyright 2019 News 12 Long Island, Silvia Teixeira via CNN. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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