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Nursing Home Sues for Unpaid Bills Despite Resident’s Wrongful Death

Nursing Home Sues for Unpaid Bills Despite Resident’s Wrongful Death

A man holding his father's hand after becoming sick

In June 2015, Woodhaven Center of Care admitted that they were responsible for the death of then-resident Salvatore Niosi. Now, four years and a million-dollar settlement later, the nursing home is pursuing a countersuit for money that they claim was owed to them by the deceased.

Following the family’s lawsuit, Woodhaven Center of Care filed a countersuit against Salvatore Niosi’s estate claiming that they were owed a sum of unpaid fees for the duration of Mr. Niosi’s residency. According to Woodhaven, these unpaid costs account for Niosi’s stay at the facility which went unbilled for six years due to a “clerical error” on  Niosi’s Medicaid application.

At this time, the amount being pursued is not publicly known and Woodhaven has declined comment.

Salvatore Niosi was an 82-year-old, wheelchair-bound resident of Woodhaven Center of Care for over six years. Niosi entered the home in 2007, after multiple strokes left him immobile and unable to speak or swallow properly. In addition to his admission, there was a note in Niosi’s file stating that he was to be only fed with pureed food.

Despite these instructions, in 2013, a Woodhaven nurse fed Salvatore Niosi a sandwich without putting in his dentures, in clear violation of his feeding requirements. Three minutes later, the grandfather of three was dead from asphyxiation due to an obstructed esophagus.

According to lawyers in the lawsuit filed by Niosi’s family, it took Woodhaven staff over 30 minutes to call 911 to help the suffocating man.

Two years later, in 2015, Niosi’s family filed a lawsuit against Woodhaven Center of Care for his wrongful death. On the eve of the trial, Woodhaven admitted its guilt and the trial was postponed until the jury could rule on an appropriate settlement.

The week of April 14, 2019, that jury awarded Niosi’s family $1 million. The last thing that was expected, however, was Woodhaven’s countersuit following their loss.