Family of SNF resident who died after being found in trash bin sues facility

The family of a 73-year-old nursing home resident found near death in a garbage bin last week has now filed a lawsuit against the facility.

Ralph Ford was discovered by construction workers in a bin full of clothing behind the St. Francis Nursing Center in Detroit last week. Ford was taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead, before the facility called police to report him missing. Original local reports had stated that Ford had died by the time he was discovered.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Ford's family said the facility knew of his tendency to wander and should have had more safeguards such as video cameras and door alarms in place to prevent him leaving the building. The lawsuit also claims that Ford suffered from hypothermia from spending the night outdoors, despite his autopsy showing he died of natural causes.

Detroit police investigated Ford's death and found no signs of foul play. A spokeswoman for St. Francis declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the family by the Sam Bernstein Law Firm, seeks more than $25,000 from the facility, according to local reports.