The family of a resident of Bria of Geneva, an Illinois nursing home, recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit after the resident died from COVID-19.
Bria of Geneva, an Illinois nursing home, is facing a lawsuit by the family of a 97-year-old woman who died from COVID-19 while in the care of the nursing home. According to the family’s allegations, the family of the woman, Helen Osucha, “had no idea she was suffering from COVID-19 until the funeral home told them.” When asked about Osucha, her son-in-law, Michael Colwell, said she was “a gracious, intelligent, hard-working woman who, after raising two children, went to work at the famous Como Inn in Chicago as a bookkeeper and waitress for 30 years.” He added, “She had a whole collection of customers who loved her.”
What happened, though? According to the suit, Osucha was moved into Bria of Geneva about a year ago. The family last saw her in March. Due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, they weren’t allowed to visit her in the facility. Unfortunately, she ended up contracting COVID-19 and died on April 26. However, the family was never notified that she had COVID-19 and didn’t even know she was sick until the facility called them to inform them of Osucha’s passing. Colwell said:
“The funeral home gave us Helen’s death certificate and on that death certificate, it says that she was ill for one week prior to her death. And then, it lists COVID as the cause of her death.”
Upset about what transpired, the family teamed up with attorney Peter Flowers to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Kane County Circuit Court. The suit argues the nursing home failed to take reasonable measures “to ensure its employees and staff members complied with the COVID-19 preventative directives of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control.” Flowers commented, “They not only didn’t protect the patients in there but they also didn’t protect their workers.”
A spokesperson with Bria Health Services issued the following statement in regard to the lawsuit:
“COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease that puts our elderly residents with underlying health conditions most at risk. Our partnership with departments of public health continued as their guidance and directives continuously evolved and as information about the coronavirus became known. Because testing was not immediately accessible, the high number of asymptomatic carriers among residents and staff created a silent enemy impossible to detect and difficult to defeat. These form the backdrop of why the State of Illinois has granted immunity to healthcare providers for injuries stemming from the diagnoses, transmission, and treatment of COVID-19. We remain committed to providing compassionate care to our residents, and as of Monday more than 50 residents and 33 staff have now recovered from the virus or remain asymptomatic after testing positive.”
It’s important to note that, as of May 15, Bria of Geneva has seen 22 deaths and 112 cases of COVID-19, some of the highest numbers from an Illinois nursing home.