The following is an article written by Lee Berquist and appeared in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on January 8, 2012. Click here to read the story.
Jurors in Washington County awarded more than $1.5 million Friday to the mother of 56-year-old woman who died after choking while in the care of a group home in Germantown.
Vicky Anderson died on March 3, 2009, after an incident on Feb. 27 of that year, according to her attorney, in which staff of the group home failed to properly purée her food.
As a result she choked on her meal, causing brain damage and eventually her death, attorney Jeff Pitman said.
Anderson was developmentally disabled, blind and had difficulty swallowing her food. She lived at a group home in Germantown operated by Countryview Group Homes.
Pitman said that while researching the case, he discovered Countryview was operating the day of the incident without a required manager and had recently cut staffing levels.
Jurors awarded the woman’s estate nearly $1.52 million for burial expenses, pain and suffering, loss of companionship for Vicky’s mother, Evelyn, and punitive damages.
Michael Yelin, administrator of Countryview, said in a statement:
“Countryview disputes any evidence of inappropriate staff cuts and (is) considering an appeal on that issue.
“Countryview took responsibility from the beginning because its employee made a mistake.”