PORT JEFFERSON STATION, N.Y. - A family near New York is outraged, after being sued by a nursing home where their father died. The facility was found liable in his death six years ago, but now claims the family owes it money for his stay there.
Six years after wheelchair-bound Salvatore Niosi choked to death at the Woodhaven Care Center, a jury has awarded $1 million to his family. The jury found a nurse at the facility forgot to put in Niosi's dentures and fed him a sandwich, leading him choke on the food.
"He didn't deserve to die that way," Niosi's daughter, Silvia Teixeira told News 12 Long Island.
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. "He deserved better. He deserved a different ending to his story," said Teixeira.
Teixeira says her 82-year-old father's chart specified he be fed pureed food only. On Dec. 13, 2013, a Woodhaven care nurse fed him a sandwich without reading his chart or putting his dentures in. He died within minutes. "The facility was understaffed that night, so he wasn't being supervised. And their lack of timeliness to call 911. It was 20 to 30 minutes before they called 911," said Teixeira.
Woodhaven accepted liability for Niosi's death one week before the case was set to go on trial. But Niosi's family's legal battle against the nursing home isn't over yet. The nursing home is counter-suing the family, claiming they owe the center money for Niosi's stay there.
"It's a slap in the face. They did wrong. You know, 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," said Teixeira. "Every life matters and I wanted his life, at the time of this happening, I wanted things to change for him."
Woodhaven has not commented on the case. Mediation is scheduled for next month.
CNN/News 12 Long Island