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Mother dies in Illinois nursing home after nurse reads chart wrong, family alleges

Posted at 4:31 PM, Apr 06, 2017

A family is suing a Chicago-area nursing home alleging a nurse at the home is to blame for the death of a loved one.

The family says their mother was supposed to be resuscitated, but a nurse read the paperwork wrong and nobody even attempted CPR.

52-year-old Kim Cencula was only supposed to be at a nursing home for a few weeks to regain her strength after getting pneumonia.

"I feel like they took my mom away from me," says Morgan Cencula. "I know that if she wouldn't have gone there she would be with me here today."

Kim suffered from diabetes and kidney failure. So she went to the Warren Barr nursing home in Highland Park, Illinois where she could get better.

On March 29, 2016, a nurse found her "lifeless and not breathing" just after 4 a.m.

Surveillance video has been obtained from the nursing home.

"We have three people going in and out of that room in over 30 minutes," says Tara Devine, attorney for family. "During this 30 minutes not one person calls 911, not one person calls a code blue, not one person administers CPR."

In a lawsuit filed by the family Tuesday they allege the nurse misread the chart. (Read a copy of the lawsuit here (pdf))

"You literally check a box to say yes you want to be resuscitated or no you do not," Devine says.

Kim was supposed to be given CPR, but instead, the family says, she was left alone in her room.

Police reports show the nurse called 911 about 30 minutes after she found Kim unresponsive. But by the time paramedics arrived, it was too late.

Now the family says they want to warn others.

The Illinois Dept of Public Health investigated the nursing home after Kim died. Residents now have to wear a pink bracelet if they do not want to be revived.

Warren Barr issued a statement saying:

Warren Barr North Shore maintains the highest standards of care for our patients. The death of any of our residents is cause for both sadness and concern. We wish to express our deepest condolences to the family of Kimberly Cencula on her passing. Unfortunately in a setting such as ours, we often treat very sick people with both chronic and even fatal diseases.
While we cannot comment specifically regarding Kimberly's medical condition due to privacy laws and the lawsuit her family recently filed, we can say that we respectfully disagree with all of the allegations that have been made in the lawsuit. Our nursing staff is highly competent and provides the highest level of care to all of our residents, especially to those who are at the end of their lives.
Kimberly received the highest level of care throughout her stay at Warren Barr North Shore. We disagree with the allegation that our nursing staff's handling of Kimberly's care and treatment somehow caused Kimberly's death. While we do not invite litigation, we do look forward to the opportunity to defend ourselves within the context of the lawsuit the family has elected to file.